Death toll rises to 2 in Kolkata bridge collapse (Lead)

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Kolkata : One more body was recovered from the bridge collapse site in south Kolkata's Majherhat on Wednesday, taking the death toll to two in the accident so far, police said.

The body, recovered at around 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday, was suspected to be that of one of the two labourers who were missing since the bridge collapsed more than 24 hours ago, police said.

The body of one more person is still feared trapped under the debris.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the collapse site and said the accident will be investigated by a high-level committee led by the state Chief Secretary Malay de.

"We have inspected the bridge collapse site. This could have been an even bigger calamity. The death toll and the number of injured people could have increased manifold. A high level committee led by the state Chief Secretary will investigate the matter," Banerjee said.

"One dead body has been recovered from the spot today (Wednesday). We know that two persons have been missing since yesterday. Among those admitted to the hospital, one each in CMRI and SSKM hospital, are in critical condition. Rest of the injured persons are stable," she said.

She also said a compensation of Rs five lakh would be given to the families of the deceased persons while the critically injured would get Rs one lakh each.

"All the government departments, disaster management team, police personnel and locals have worked very hard to keep the situation under control and successfully rescued the trapped vehicles within two-three hours of the accident," she said specially thanking the locals for playing an active part in the rescue operations.

Stating that a high level meeting will be held at the state secretariat Nabanna on Thursday, Banerjee said the technical details of the possible reasons for the bridge collapse will be discussed at length there.

"There are many bridges in West Bengal. We monitor them after every six months. But we face difficulty sometimes with the old bridges as we do not have papers regarding their construction and maintenance," Banerjee said.

She added that her government will conduct surveys of the condition of the bridges in the state at regular intervals.

Meanwhile, the rescue operations at the bridge collapse site, adjacent to the Majherhat railway station, continued on Wednesday night with large chunks of the dismantled structure still lying in the area.

Kollata Police has registered a suo-motu case against the persons responsible for the accident charging them with culpable homicide not amounting to murder (IPC 304, 308). No specific names, however, have been mentioned in the FIR.

The traffic in large parts of south Kolkata and south 24 Parganas district remained largely affected, a Kolkata Traffic Control official said.

A youth named Soumen Bagh, a resident of Silpara area in South Kolkata's Behala, was declared dead on Tuesday night following the bridge collapse.