At least 14 people were killed and more than 70 trapped after a flyover under construction collapsed in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata Thursday.

Several cars and rickshaws parked under the bridge were crushed when around 100 metres of the flyover fell, witnesses said on the India Today news channel.

Rescue efforts were under way to reach those trapped, said Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal state.

Two units of the National Disaster Response Force were rushed to the site and cranes were being used to lift debris. News footage showed some cars being lifted out from the rubble.

"We do not have figures of how many people have died, but at least 20 injured people have been admitted to nearby hospitals," an official at the Kolkata Police control room told dpa.

The army has also been called in to help, said Banerjee, who called off an election rally to visit the site in the state capital.

Residents formed a human chain to keep onlookers back from rescue operations, reports said.

Construction on the flyover started in 2008 but had stopped and started several times amid apparent financial trouble suffered by operator IVCRL, according to an India Today report.

The flyover was almost the width of the road, and passed close to rows of three- and four-storey houses and shops on both sides, in an extremely congested area in the north of the city.

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