Bridge constructed over river in Bihar collapses, probe ordered

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An inquiry has been ordered into the collapse of a yet-to-be-inaugurated bridge built over a river in Begusarai district of Bihar, which has brought the spotlight on sub-standard construction works in the state, an official said on Tuesday.

Begusarai District Magistrate Roshan Kushwaha said the bridge over Burhi Gandak, a portion of which gave way and crashed into the river in the early hours of Sunday, had developed cracks a few days earlier.

“The bridge, built at a cost of around Rs 13.48 crore, by a local construction company, was yet to be formally inaugurated. It was, however, in use by pedestrians, and plying of small vehicles was also allowed,” the DM said.

Cracks were noticed on Friday in a portion that linked two pillars of the bridge following which plying of vehicles was suspended and the department concerned was sounded off, he said.

“Our worst fears came true on Sunday when the portion of the bridge crashed into the river. Thankfully, nobody suffered physical harm when the huge chunk fell into the river”, Kushwaha said.

The incident has, however, resulted in great inconvenience to residents of Sahebpur Kamal block, who now have to take a boat ride or cover a distance of more than 20 kms, taking a circuitous route via the adjoining district of Khagaria.

“On Monday night, a team of RWD (rural works department), led by its engineer-in-chief, visited and inspected the site. They have ordered an inquiry, based on the report of which action will be taken,” the DM said.

The Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) headed by Chirag Paswan, one of the most strident critics of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, tagged the latter while sharing photographs of the caved-in bridge on its official Twitter handle.

“It was built for Rs 14 crore under the Mukhyamanti NABARD scheme. Had the Rs 14 crore been rightfully spent, the mishap would not have taken place”, the party said in the tweet, indirectly referring to corruption.



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