Majerhat Bridge Was Hastily Repaired: Month’s Work Done in a Night

Less than three weeks before Majerhat bridge collapse, broken stretches of the flyover had been hastily repaired.

2 min read
Majerhat flyover collapses in South Kolkata on 4 September.

In August 2018, less than three weeks before the Majerhat bridge collapse, broken stretches of the flyover had been hastily repaired, with a report by The Telegraph claiming that “a month’s work” was done in one night.

The hasty repairs were done in anticipation of chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s visit to the locality for a Trinamool event. A section of the same flyover collapsed on Tuesday, 4 September.

Broken stretches of Diamond Harbour Road, the Taratala flyover and the Majerhat bridge had received a new topping of bitumen because Mamata was scheduled to travel to neighbouring Behala on 14 August.

The said stretches, which were to fall on the CM’s route for the visit, were riddled with potholes. After hearing about Mamata’s prospective visit, the Public Works Department (PWD) completed the repair work in three days straight.

"Repairs started on the flyover and the bridge late on Thursday (9 August) and were completed by Friday (10 August) morning," a police officer told The Telegraph.

That’s right, it only took the PWD one night to coat the Majerhat Bridge and the Taratala flyover.

According to this 15 August report, this job would have normally taken the PWD around a month. Here is why:

The junior engineer prepares the estimate and sends it to the executive engineer, who scrutinises it and sends it to the superintending engineer, who again scrutinises it and sends it to the chief engineer.
PWD engineer

The chief engineer forwards the file to the secretary of the department in order to procure financial approval and a tender is then floated. This means that the estimate for the repair work travels through four levels before it is approved.

Contractors get seven to 21 days to bid for work.

The Other, Superfast Process

However, in August 2018, the process followed was evidently different. As reported by The Telegraph, sometimes when a VIP is expected to visit, a spot tender is called immediately to choose the contractor.

The contractors are called to the spot and there is instant bidding. The lowest bidder is given the contract on the spot.
An engineer to The Telegraph

On being asked how the roads were repaired so promptly, a senior PWD engineer claimed:

It’s not that we repaired the roads only because the chief minister was coming. We got a few dry nights and decided to fix the Taratala flyover, the Majerhat bridge and stretches of Diamond Harbour Road.

A local police officer had, however, previously told Telegraph India, "it is we who usually request them to repair potholed roads, and more often than not, they don't pay heed."

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