6 bridges collapse in Bihar over last two days


Most of these bridges were thirty years old and the foundations were not very deep, officials said, adding that the foundation was damaged during de-siltation….reports Asian Lite News

A total of six bridges collapsed on the Gandak river in Bihar’s Siwan and Saran over the last two days, officials said on Thursday, blaming engineers and contractors for the back-to-back incidents.

Several projects, including the de-siltation of rivers, were initiated after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took feedback in Gopalganj and adjoining areas. It seems that engineers did not take care and the contractors were not careful, officials said, adding, “Engineers concerned seem to be at fault prima facie.”

Special teams have been sent to the spot, and strict action has been taken against engineers and contractors, they said.

Officials further said that new bridges will be constructed and the cost of construction will be borne by the contractors concerned.

Most of these bridges were thirty years old and the foundations were not very deep, they said, adding that the foundation was damaged during de-siltation.

Notably, five bridges – in Araria, Siwan, East Champaran, Kishanganj, and Madhubani districts – have collapsed across the state in the last nine days.

The first incident of a bridge collapse was reported on June 18 in Araria. The latest one took place in Madhubani.The Madhubani incident came just a day after another bridge fell in Kishanganj district.

On June 22, a bridge over the Gandak River in Siwan, approximately 40-45 years old, also fell. On June 23, a bridge under construction in East Champaran, costing around Rs 1.5 crore, collapsed, with locals blaming the use of substandard materials.

Earlier this month, on June 18, a newly constructed bridge over the Bakra river in Pararia village of Bihar’s Araria district collapsed on Tuesday.

The bridge connecting Araria’s Sikhti and Kursakatta was washed away before its inauguration.

Last year in June, a portion of a temporary bridge built on River Ganga in the Vaishali district of Bihar was partly washed away by strong winds.

The temporary bridge connected Raghopur to the Vaishali District Headquarters. (ANI)

Plea in SC seeks audit of all bridges in Bihar

A petition has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking to issue direction to the Bihar Government to conduct the highest level structural audit of all existing and under construction bridges in the state and to demolish or retrofit weak structure depending of feasibility in the wake of bridge collapses in the state.

The petitioner and advocate Brajesh Singh, on Wednesday, urged the top court to issue directions to the Bihar Government to conduct the audit.

The petitioner said that the instant issue of bridge collapses in Bihar requires an urgent consideration of the top court as within two years, three major under-construction bridges and other several incidents of the collapse of the large, medium and small bridges happened.

He said that in the said unfortunate man-made incidents some people succumbed and others were injured adding that in the future other incidents may also happen due to the gross negligence of the government and the corrupt nexus of the contractors and concerned agencies.

“It is a matter of grave concern that in a state like Bihar, which is the most flood-prone state of India, the total flood-affected area in the state is 68,800 sq. km which is 73.06 per cent of the total geographical area. Hence such routine accrual of the incident of falling bridges in Bihar is more disastrous as the lives of people at large are at stake. Therefore the urgent intervention of this Hon’ble Court is required to save the lives of people, as the under-construction bridges before its accomplishment collapsed routinely,” the petitioner said.

The petitioner has also sought appropriate direction specifically from the State of Bihar for making proper policy or mechanism for real-time monitoring of the bridges constructed, old and under construction concerning the bridges falling exclusively under the domain of the respondent, the state of Bihar on the same analogy as developed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, vide dated March 4, 2024, for the preservation of National Highways and Centrally Sponsored Schemes and it was issued as a mandatory Guidelines vide, subjected, identification and implementation of real-time Health Monitoring of bridges using sensors to the states including the respondent.”

The petitioner has also sought to issue direction to respondents specifically Bihar for making an efficient permanent body through legislation or executive order, comprising high-level experts from the concerned field for continuous monitoring of all the existing and under-construction bridges in Bihar and also for maintaining the comprehensive database on the health of all existing bridges in the state.

The Public Interest Litigation has highlighted various bridge collapses mostly river bridges in Araria, Siwan, Madhubani, and Kishanganj districts among others in Bihar. (ANI)

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