An elevated highway in Kolkata, India collapsed on Thursday, leaving at least 26 dead and 85 injured. As of Friday five hundred rescue personnel were still working at the collapse site.
“We cannot tell how many more are trapped,” a Kolkata police sergeant said.
On Friday, the Kolkata police also decided to hold, IVRCL Infrastructure Co., the construction company who built the highway, criminally responsible for the collapse. They have filed a complaint of culpable homicide and a criminal breach of trust against the company.
Eight of the company’s executives have been detained. They are being held for questioning and investigation. Should they be found guilty of culpable homicide they may face the death penalty. A conviction of breach of trust carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison.
IVRCL Infrastructure was contracted to build the bridge in 2007 for the purpose of easing the traffic in Kolkata’s Bara Bazaar neighborhood. The construction was supposed to take two years but ended up taking much longer. The structure fell within hours of concrete being poured into a framework of steel girders on Thursday.
“We completed nearly 70 percent of the construction work without any mishap,” IVRCL official K.P. Rao said Thursday. “We have to go into the details to find out whether the collapse was due to any technical or quality issue.”
IVRCL has more than one stain on its record. Derek O’Brien, a spokesman for the state of West Bengal, which includes Kolkata, said the company had been barred from doing business in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
“The company has a bad reputation,” he said. “The law will take its own course. No one will be spared.”