Just as he was counting down for Dusshera celebrations after placing orders for 100 sacred Kalash at a nearby market place in Cuttack, Surendranath Patnaik was least aware that his world would come crashing down as soon as he would step into his house. The shattering cries were stronger than the thud of flyover collapse. The septuagenarian dealt with bawls from his wife, a grieving mother. His heart too was ripped apart. The dad had lost his son, Satyabrata minutes ago.
Gathering himself and his family members after the fateful day, he had no qualms to speak about who he felt was responsible for the mishap. Taking pride about the education he had imparted to his son, the father shunned the government for trying to console the family with Rs 5 lakh. Well off, he rejected the amount with which his son’s life was being measured. ‘’I will give back the money to the government they threw on us as compensation. Can they give me back my son?” the teary eyed man stated with hurt in heart that refused to heal.
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A blunder, the elderly gentleman blamed on criminal neglect resulting from ‘smart city’ initiative, also had him worrying on what if there had been a crowd underneath the flyover. Many fathers, wives, sons and daughters would have been grief stricken today, he says staring blank with questions in his eyes that turn moist every minute. With fair amount of understanding of engineering, he says slab casting should have been done at night when there’s no movement or the road should have been closed for use. Why did the government and contract agency not look at imminent danger the under-construction flyover posed? “Is human life sans any value?” the man who seemed to have grown more older in a few hours, kept murmuring, unconcerned about anything around him. Because, his world had collapsed along with the flyover!