In a somber revelation, the recent bridge incident in Mizoram, which has tragically claimed the lives of 23 individuals, has been attributed to the collapse of a crucial gantry. The gantry was undergoing installation as part of the ambitious under-construction bridge spanning the Kurung River. Railways authorities, shedding light on the calamity on Wednesday, disclosed that a gantry responsible for lifting and positioning bridge segments faltered during its launch, leading to the heart-wrenching incident.
Out of the 26 workers who were on-site, a staggering 23 are feared dead, while authorities have managed to recover only 18 bodies thus far, as confirmed on Thursday.
Amid the aftermath, three workers remain hospitalized and are currently "undergoing treatment," while another five individuals are still unaccounted for, according to official reports. All of the workers involved hailed from West Bengal's Malda district.
The Railways attributed the catastrophe, which occurred on Wednesday, to the collapse of a gantry structure that was in the process of being launched onto the under-construction bridge spanning the Kurung river. In response, a high-level committee has been established to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, given that the bridge is one of the integral components of the Bhairavi-Sairang New Railway Line project, encompassing a network of 130 bridges.
Clarifying the sequence of events, a Railways spokesperson stated, "The bridge itself remains standing; it was the gantry that met with an unfortunate incident during its launch onto the under-construction bridge." This distinction is pivotal, as it counters the assertion by Mizoram's Chief Minister Zoramthanga, who referred to the occurrence as a "bridge collapse." Evidently, the portion of the bridge that has been completed remains steadfast.
Among the grim news, all 18 identified bodies have been officially named, including individuals such as Naba Chawdury, Mojammel Haque, Narim Rahman, and more, who tragically lost their lives in the incident. As authorities assess the situation, hopes for the five missing workers' survival remain slim, according to a police official.
The search continues for the missing workers: Mojaffar Ali, Sahin Aktar, Nurul Haque, Senaul, and Asim Ali. As the region grapples with this profound loss, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee assured that arrangements are in place to bring the victims' bodies back to their home state of West Bengal.
It's noteworthy that the gantry at the center of this catastrophe was meticulously designed by STUP Consultant and underwent rigorous verification by IIT-Guwahati, reiterating the comprehensive precautions taken prior to construction. The committee itself comprises distinguished experts including Dr. Dipti Ranjan Sahoo, an esteemed Associate Dean and Professor of Structural Engineering from IIT-Delhi, BP Awasthi, Principal Executive Director-II Infra (RDSO), Sharad Kumar Agarwal, a revered IRICEN Professor specializing in Bridges, and Sandeep Sharma, the sagacious Chief Bridge Engineer of the Northeast Frontier Railway.
The Bairabi–Sairang line, a monumental endeavor within the Northeast Frontier Railway zone of the Indian Railways, encompasses a 51 km stretch from Bairabi to Sairang. This ambitious project encompasses an array of engineering feats, including an intricate network of 130 bridges, 23 tunnels, and strategically positioned stations, namely Hortoki, Kawnpui, Mualkhang, and Sairang.