As accident shock subsides, Chandel points finger at govt

IMPHAL, Oct 18: As the shock of the accident at Modi village in which a bridge collapsed plunging a passenger truck into a gorge, the outrage of the people of Chandel are not beginning to be diverted to the government`s apathy which they now attribute as the chief cause for the death of six persons including a minor and injuring of about 20 persons.

A team of media persons today visited the spot where the mishap occurred and met eyewitnesses as well as people of Modi village.

While interacting with the villagers drew the attention of the government to condition of surface transport infrastructure in the area, including roads and bridges along the Chandel-Sugnu Road.

The chief of Modi village said the concerned authorities have been warned several times about the conditions of the bridge (locally known as Modi log) where the mishap occurred) and added that there were chances that similar the incidents might recour as other bridges along the route are in similar conditions.

The village chief revealed that the bridge was over 40 years old and since its completion there had not been any repairing done.

He revealed that the concerned minister was apprised of this several times. Only a few months back the concerned minister crossed the Modi bridge on his way to Sugnu, he said. Yet he seemed to have forgotten the condition of the bridge, he lamented.

He said all the side barrier of the bridges (20 feet long and 12 feet wide) hardly existed and except for some concrete sticking to the exposed skeleton of iron rods there was not RCC columns left to support the weight of the bridge.

Sources speculated that the truck carrying the passenders hit at the eastern barrier after a skid while trying to avoid a pothole breaking the fall slightly.

"Had this not been so there might not have been any survivor. The truck also turned turtle trapping survivors among the passengers until rescued", said K. John, the village secretary, and revealed as soon as the truck fell off the bridge, distress wails of passengers filled the air.

While narrating the incident K. John revealed that the villagers were informed about the mishap by some of the local youths who were near the village parking. John who was one of the first to be informed, rushed to the nearby church and alerted the community.

The villagers present at the Church then rushed to inform everyone else in the village and the rescued mission of the trapped victims ensued.

Further the villagers of Modi urged the concerned authority to intervene into the matter and also urged the government to provide appropriate compensation to the victims and their family.

ASSAM RIFLES HELP:Meanwhile, the 42 Assam Rifles nearby in a press release today said its troops provided assistance to the accident victims.

It said five persons died on the spot and 38 persons were injured.

A medical team led by a medical officer alongwith rescue party immediately rushed to the accident site and evacuated the deceased and injured persons to Chandel civil hospital, it said..

One medical officer with paramedical staff alongwith necessary medicines was also sent to the hospital to assist the medical staff at district hospital, the release added.