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Why bridges in Bihar are falling like ninepins

Rattled over successive collapses of bridges in such a short span, the Nitish Kumar government has ordered an investigation by the department concerned and asked to take action against those found guilty.
Last Updated : 03 July 2024, 01:41 IST

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Patna: The collapse of a bridge or an under-construction bridge in Bihar has always made headlines, thereby bringing a bad name to the state. However, of late, what has raised many an eyebrow is the collapse of six bridges within a fortnight in Bihar, and that too when the monsoon season has just begun.

Rattled over successive collapses of bridges in such a short span, the Nitish Kumar government has ordered an investigation by the department concerned and asked to take action against those found guilty.

Experts, including retired engineers, argue that the bridges have been collapsing due to the “use of sub-standard materials, non-adherence to the prescribed design, poor quality control, non-supervision of the work by the departmental engineers, and violation of the prescribed ratio of cement, sand, stone chips, and iron rods.”

However, government officials blame it on the heavy flow of water from the upstream Himalayan Kingdom—Nepal—which has led to the gushing of lakhs of cusecs of water into the rivers flowing through Bihar. “Or else, how could one explain that all six bridges that have collapsed since June 18 were located in north Bihar, which faces the perennial problem of floods due to the heavy discharge of water from Nepal,” argued a senior official, preferring anonymity.

It all started when a bridge, constructed at a cost of Rs 12 crore and awaiting inauguration, collapsed in Araria on June 18. This was followed by the collapse of an old bridge over a canal in Siwan on June 22. The very next day, on June 23, an under-construction bridge in Motihari collapsed. Similarly, on June 25, the girder (also called the beam) of a bridge in Madhubani collapsed after the pillar of the bridge was washed away in a heavy flow of water gushing from upstream.

As if this were not enough, the Kishanganj district saw two successive collapses of bridges on June 27 and June 30, respectively. These two bridges were constructed in 2011 and 2007, respectively.

In Bihar, the Rural Works Department, the Rural Development Department, the Road Construction Department, and the Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam are primarily responsible for the construction of bridges through different contractors and executing agencies, depending on whether it is being constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna or Mukhya Mantri Sampark Yojna or the Central-funded highway projects.

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Published 03 July 2024, 01:41 IST

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