Sonaram Tudu, Kanti Bahadur, and Mafeeza Khatun : “Three Killed as Century-Old Water Tank Collapses at Bardhaman Station in West Bengal”

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : Kolkata, Dec 13 (PTI) – A tragic incident unfolded on Wednesday at Bardhaman station in West Bengal, as three individuals lost their lives and over 30 sustained injuries when a portion of an over a century-old overhead water tank collapsed onto the platform shed. The incident occurred when the side wall of the water tank placed above platform No. 2 & 3 broke and fell on the platform, crushing passengers beneath it.

In response to the incident, the railways has established a three-member inquiry committee to investigate the cause of the collapse. The West Bengal Government Railway Police (GRP) has also filed a First Information Report (FIR) in connection with the incident, highlighting the seriousness of the matter.

Following the collapse, train movement through line 1, 2, and 3 of Bardhaman station was immediately suspended as a safety measure. Railway officials and rescue teams swiftly rushed to the site to assist the injured and assess the situation.

The tragic incident has sparked a verbal clash between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Bengal and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which holds power at the Centre. The TMC has accused the railways of “insufficient maintenance,” while the railways has vehemently denied these allegations, calling them baseless.

The metal water tank that fell onto the waiting passengers is reported to be 133 years old, having been constructed in 1890. All the injured individuals were promptly transported to Burdwan Medical College and Hospital, where unfortunately, two of them were declared dead on arrival, and the third succumbed to their injuries a few hours later, as confirmed by a Purba Bardhaman district official. The deceased have been identified as Sonaram Tudu, Kanti Bahadur, and Mafeeza Khatun.

In response to the tragic incident, the railways has announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased, and Rs 50,000 and Rs 5,000 to those with serious and mild injuries, respectively.

An FIR has been lodged by the West Bengal GRP in connection with the incident, and investigations are set to commence soon. Officers are currently recording statements from the injured individuals at Burdwan Medical College and Hospital to aid in the investigation process.

West Bengal Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi has reached out to railway authorities to offer cooperation and assistance in dealing with the aftermath of the incident. In the wake of the collapse, three railway employees have been suspended, and train movement through platforms 1, 2, and 3 at the station has been halted, as confirmed by an Eastern Railway (ER) official.

Locals in the area have blamed the railways for insufficient maintenance, further fueling the ongoing verbal exchange between the TMC and the BJP. TMC state spokesperson Kunal Ghosh criticized the BJP, stating, “The BJP talks about Vande Bharat trains but is not doing enough when it comes to maintenance. Will the railways or the BJP government take responsibility for the death of three persons? This is a complete failure of the railways.”

In response, the Bengal BJP downplayed the allegations, with state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya urging the railways to conduct a thorough investigation and address any issues that may have contributed to the collapse.

It is noteworthy that a similar incident occurred at Bardhaman Railway Station on January 4, 2020, resulting in the death of one person when a portion of the station building collapsed. This recent incident raises concerns about the overall infrastructure and maintenance of the railway facilities in the region.

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