Khagaria/Bhagalpur, June 4
An under-construction bridge over the Ganga river collapsed in Bihar on Sunday, portions of which were deliberately destroyed in a planned fashion under expert advice as it had design flaws, claimed state government officials.
The bridge was supposed to connect Khagaria district with Bhagalpur.
Images of the mishap that took place in Khagaria evoked immediate criticisms from the opposition, prompting Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav and Additional Chief Secretary of Road Construction Department, Pratyay Amrit, to hold a hurried press conference.
“It may be recalled that a portion of this bridge had collapsed on April 30 last year. We had, thereafter, approached IIT-Roorkee, which is esteemed for its expertise in construction matters, to conduct a study. It is yet to come up with a final report but experts who had studied the structure had informed us that there were serious defects,” Yadav said at the press conference.
Amrit, who took over, added, “It was decided that we must not take any chance and wait for a final report. So we went ahead with pulling down parts of the bridge. Today’s incident was a part of such a preventive exercise.”
Once the final report comes, which is expected shortly, the state government would contemplate action like lodging of FIR and blacklisting of the company which was awarded the contract, he said.
The bridge was said to have involved an estimated cost of Rs 1,700 crore.
As images of the collapsing portion were beamed on media outlets, state BJP president reacted strongly and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Choudhary said the incident shows that “corruption is rampant” under the rule of the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government.
“Sub-standard materials were used for the construction of the bridge. The CM is least bothered about the development of Bihar...he is busy on his tour. He must resign from his post after this incident.” Notably, one labourer died and another was injured after a portion of an under-construction bridge collapsed in Nalanda district in November last year.
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