A railway bridge under construction over the Kurung river in Mizoram collapsed on Wednesday, killing at least 18 workers.
The incident occurred at 9.30 a.m. at Sairang, about 21 km from State capital Aizawl. A total of 28 workers are believed to have been at the site when the bridge collapsed.
“A railway bridge no. 196 near Sairang Zero Point which was under construction collapsed… The bodies of 18 persons were recovered while three injured were rescued,” the Mizoram government said in a statement. Northeast Frontier Railway officials said a girder — a steel structure on which a railway track is laid — collapsed while it was being installed.
According to the Railway Ministry, the girder was designed by the Paris-headquartered STUP Consultants and proof checked by experts from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati.
Railway officials said the pillars of the bridge, the tallest of which is 95 metres, were intact.
The railways constituted a high-level committee to investigate into the mishap and announced an ex-gratia compensation of ₹10 lakh each for the kin of those killed, ₹2 lakh each for those who sustained serious injuries, and ₹50,000 each for those who sustained minor injuries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives and announced ex gratia of ₹2 lakh for the next of kin of each deceased and ₹50,000 for the injured from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.
“Grieved by the unfortunate incident in Mizoram. NDRF, State administration and railway officials are at the site. Rescue operation on war footing,” Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Mizoram Governor Hari Babu Kambhampati and Chief Minister Zoramthanga and assured all possible assistance.
Expressing grief, Mr. Zoramthanga thanked the local people for coming out in large numbers and helping with the search and rescue operations conducted in coordination with personnel of the Border Security Force, National Disaster Response Force, and the State police.
“All possible assistance is being provided at the site. The bodies would be embalmed and handed over to the railways for transportation to the respective villages after an autopsy,” a Mizoram government spokesperson said.
Some of the workers engaged in the bridge construction project were from West Bengal.
“Shocked to learn about the tragic collapse today of an under-construction railway bridge in Mizoram, leading to loss of lives of several site workers, including some belonging to our Malda district,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote on X.
Ms. Banerjee said she instructed the State’s Chief Secretary to coordinate with the Mizoram administration and assured due compensation for the next of kin of all the affected families.