Judicial panel monitored by apex court should look into incident, says Mamata

WEST BENGAL Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said a judicial commission under the supervision of the Supreme Court should look into Gujarat’s Morbi bridge collapse incident that claimed 135 lives.

Speaking to mediapersons at the Kolkata airport before leaving for Chennai to meet her Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin, Banerjee said it was a “tragic incident and not a political issue” and offered her condolences to the bereaved families. However, Banerjee wondered why central agencies like the CBI and the ED were not arresting those responsible for the tragedy.

“There should be a judicial inquiry under the supervision of the Supreme Court. Those who worked on renovating the bridge should be held responsible. Why are the ED, CBI and other agencies not taking action against those responsible for the collapse? The agencies are after common people,” said the CM.

Though Banerjee criticised the role of the Gujarat government in the tragic incident, she declined to take any question on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I will not make any comment on Prime Minister Modi. Gujarat is his state. It is a tragic incident. I am shocked by the incident. I expressed my condolences to the family members of those who have lost their lives,” said Banerjee.

She, however, took a dig at the BJP for criticising similar incidents in Bengal, saying, “Bengal has many bridges. We have had many instances of bridge collapse here. Still, we had risen to the occasion and provided help spontaneously unlike the Gujarat government, which has not been able to help the victims as it is busy with the coming election.”

She said that the erstwhile Left Front government in the state had neglected the bridges that led to the collapse of the arterial Majherhat bridge in the city in 2018 which claimed three lives and left 24 injured.

Alleging that the relatives of the Morbi bridge collapse victims were not being appropriately compensated, Mamata said, “I want those who have lost their family members in the accident to be compensated well or be provided with jobs. I have heard that the body of the boy who died in the Morbi bridge collapse was sent back to his home (at Purbasthali in West Bengal) like that of a beggar. There is no coordination and cooperation. I believe the matter should be addressed from a humanitarian point of view.”

She expressed her wish to visit the family members of those killed in the Morbi bridge mishap. “But if I go, they (BJP) will say that I am going there to do politics. But I will go if I get a chance,” said Banerjee, who was invited by West Bengal Governor La Ganesan to his elder brother’s birthday function in Chennai on November 3.

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