Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers on Thursday clashed with the police after they were stopped short of the under-construction Majerhat Bridge in the southwestern part of Kolkata.

The police had raised barricades in order to stop the marching BJP cadres. They were demanding immediate reopening of the bridge, a portion of which had collapsed on September 4, 2018 killing two persons. It was demolished and a new cable-stayed bridge is being constructed which is expected to be thrown open to the public early next month.

Meanwhile, the police had resorted to lathi-charge after they were pelted with stones by the protestors. Several party workers of the saffron camp were detained to maintain law and order.

BJP national general secretary and chief convener of the party in West Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya, was also detained for a brief period.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee has blamed the Railways for slowing down the reconstruction of the Majerhat Bridge and alleged that the department had delayed the clearance for nine months.

Addressing the press at Nabanna, the State Secretariat of West Bengal, Banerjee said, “For nine months when rail didn’t give permission, you BJP party, were you sleeping? For nine months we’ve had repeated meetings with them, requesting for clearance.”

“For the last two years, people of Behala and South Kolkata have struggled so much. It (Majerhat Bridge) could have been completed nine months earlier. Just because Railways did not give permission at the right time that’s why we are facing this delay.

“Also, remember the bridge has not yet been completed. It just looks like it has been completed. Only the work done by PWD is complete. There are still some technical points that need to be cleared by Railways before giving their 100 per cent clearance. It’ll still take 7-8 days.

“Since the railway track pass under the bridge, we have to take permission from the Railways,” she added.

The TMC supremo also attacked BJP for indulging in politics and alleged that it was because of the hindutva outfit that the reopening of the bridge got delayed.

“It’s not because of us, the delay happened because of the Central Government. It’s because of BJP’s poltics. The bridge would have been possible a year ago. They have harrassed the people,” Banerjee, a former Railway minister, said.

“There’s nothing to teach people of Behala. I’ve done the metro in Behala. We are constructing the Majerhat Bridge. I’ve named a stadium after Satyajit Ray in Behala. All kinds of development work in Behala has been done by me,” she further said.

With PTI inputs