Another newly-built bridge collapses in Gujarat, govt suspends 3 engineers

The government said in a press statement that soon after the collapse, the chief minister sought an immediate investigation. 
Last Updated : 15 June 2023, 00:21 IST

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The Gujarat government on Wednesday suspended three engineers hours after a slab of a newly constructed bridge collapsed on Mindola river in Tapi district of south Gujarat. Sources said that the construction of the bridge had been completed recently and its inauguration was awaited.

The bridge connected Mayapur village in Valod taluka to Degama village in Vyara taluka of Tapi district. A portion of the bridge collapsed on Wednesday morning, prompting the opposition Congress to attack the Bhupendra Patel led BJP government.

Late in the evening, the government said in a press statement that soon after the collapse, the chief minister sought an immediate investigation.

"In the preliminary report, it was found that there was a serious defect in the quality of the materials used in the construction of the high level bridge," the statement stated while adding that the chief minister ordered immediate action against the officials responsible for the construction.

Accordingly, the government suspended with immediate effect the executive engineer, deputy executive engineer and assistant engineer who were involved in the construction work.

The press note also said that the government decided to blacklist the construction firm, Akshay Construction, Surat for "not maintaining proper quality of concrete in the construction" and has been ordered to recover money from the firm as part of "punitive action."

Sources in Surat said that the construction firm, Akshay Construction, has built several other bridges in south Gujarat including one in Kosamba. Despite attempts, its owners couldn't be contacted for comments.

The picture and videos of the broken slab of the bridge were widely shared on social media platforms with users comparing it with the collapse of an under construction bridge over the Ganga in Bhagalpur in Bihar earlier this month. Incidentally, the contractor of this bridge is also building the signature bridge project in Dwarka in Gujarat.

Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said in a statement that cases of bridge collapses have been reported in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Mehsana, among other districts. The fresh incident has affected at least 15 villages. "People are fed up with the BJP government's corruption model," Doshi alleged.

Recalling the death of 132 people in the Morbi bridge collapse last year, Doshi said, "When will action be taken against corrupt officers and BJP-contractor nexus."

Recently, the Gujarat government booked four directors of a construction firm, Ajay Engineering Infrastructure Private Limited, allegedly for using poor quality materials in construction of a flyover in Hatkeshwar in Khokhara police station area in Ahmedabad. The flyover built just five years ago is reported to have become hazardous for the public and is likely to be demolished.

Earlier in 2021, a portion of an under construction Mumatpura flyover in Ahmedabad had collapsed. This bridge was recently inaugurated for the public.

Published 15 June 2023, 00:21 IST

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