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Bihar Bridge Collapses: 16 Engineers Suspended

Bihar Bridge Collapses: 16 Engineers Suspended

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, July 5: After a series of collapse of road bridges in Bihar, an atrocious 10 bridges within a fortnight, the state water resources department on Friday announced suspension of 16 engineers holding them accountable for the unprecedented turn of events.

Bihar Development Secretary Chaitanya Prasad told reporters the state government was serious about the issue. He said the contractors responsible for building the bridges would be traced out and would be held accountable for the collapse of the bridges. On Thursday, the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had ordered an immediate survey of all old bridges in the state following the series of bridge collapses.

Mr Prasad said it seemed the Engineers didn’t exercise care while supervising over the construction of the bridges. “It appears that engineers didn’t exercise proper care, and contractors were not diligent either.”

The 10th bridge that collapsed in the state was reported from Saran district on Thursday. It was also Saran district’s third bridge to fall in a span of 24 hours. The 10 bridges that collapsed were in Siwan, Saran, Madhubani, Araria, East Champaran and Kishanganj districts.

“The Chief Minister [Nitish Kumar], after a review meeting on Wednesday, instructed officials to conduct a survey of all old bridges and identify those that require immediate repairs,” Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Chaudhary told reporters, adding investigation was going on.

The Bihar government has also ordered the reconstruction of the collapsed bridges anew. The cost of the construction will be imposed on the contractors found guilty. The decision was taken after the flying squads submitted their reports, pointing out that engineers were negligent and monitoring was ineffective as the main reasons behind the collapse of the bridges.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav, however, alleged 12 bridges have collapsed in Bihar since June 18. “Twelve bridges have collapsed in Bihar since June 18… Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are silent over these incidents in Bihar. What happened to the claims of good governance and a corruption-free government?” Mr Yadav said in a post on X. “These incidents show how corruption is rampant in every department of the state government,” he alleged.

“It is a strange situation for the double engine government of six parties that even after the collapse of bridges worth 10,000 of crores each day, they are not able to find any excuse to blame the opposition,” he mocked at the ruling BJP.

The Bihar road construction department has prepared a bridge maintenance policy and asked the rural works department to finalise its plan as soon as possible. Rural works department minister Ashok Choudhary criticised Mr Yadav for allegedly doing nothing to remedy the situation when he held this portfolio for over 15 months.

“The RJD leader [Tejashwi Yadav] must remember that he held the portfolio for more than 15 months during the previous mahagathbandhan government. What was he doing then? The previous RJD-led Bihar government and he should be held responsible for this mess,” Mr Choudhary said.




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