Another bridge collapses in Bihar, 10th such incident in over 15 days

Another bridge collapses in Bihar, 10th such incident in over 15 days

Patna | Another bridge collapsed in Bihar's Saran district on Thursday, the 10th such incident in the state in just over a fortnight.

District Magistrate Aman Samir said it was the third bridge collapse in Saran in the last 24 hours. "A high-level probe has been ordered to determine the causes of these small bridge collapses in the district," he said.

The small bridge over Gandaki river was located in Baneyapur block and connected several villages in Saran with the neighboring Siwan district.

"It was constructed 15 years ago. The exact cause of the collapse is yet to be ascertained, but desilting work was recently undertaken," the district magistrate told PTI.

On Wednesday, four small bridges collapsed in Saran and Siwan districts. Locals said heavy rainfall over the last few days might have triggered their fall.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Chaitanya Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary of the Water Resources Department (WRD) said, "Siwan and Saran districts witnessed the collapse of numerous small bridges/causeways in the last 24 hours. A probe has been ordered to determine the exact cause of the incidents, and departmental action will be initiated against erring officials after the report is handed over by the fact-finding team on Friday."

"Preliminary reports from Siwan and Saran suggest that the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for maintenance of the small bridges and desiltation work of the canal were not followed by the government engineers in both districts. The recent desiltation drives conducted in canals in Siwan and Saran by contractors also weakened the foundation of the structures that collapsed," said Prasad.

Prasad added, "All small bridges/causeways that collapsed in these two districts will be repaired at the earliest, and the government will charge the money from the contractors who recently did the desiltation work carelessly."

Additionally, officials have been asked to conduct a survey of all small bridges across the state that are more than 30 years old and require maintenance.

The ACS, however, could not provide the exact number of small bridges/causeways constructed by the WRD in the state. "Data will be made available soon. Let the survey be completed first," he said.

In all, ten bridges have collapsed in Siwan, Saran, Madhubani, Araria, East Champaran, and Kishanganj districts over the past 16 days.

Commenting on it, Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Chaudhary told reporters, "The CM, after a review meeting on Wednesday, has instructed officials to conduct a survey of all old bridges and identify those that require immediate repairs."

Chaudhary, who is also the state BJP president, said the government has already ordered a probe into the bridge collapses.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, however, claimed that 12 bridges have collapsed in Bihar since June 18.

In a post on X on Thursday, he wrote, "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? These incidents show how corruption is rampant in every department of the state government."

The latest incident occurred a day after Kumar chaired a meeting to review the maintenance policies of the departments concerned. He noted that the road construction department had already prepared its bridge maintenance policy and urged the rural works department (RWD) to finalise its plan as soon as possible.

RWD minister Ashok Choudhary criticised Tejashwi Yadav for his remark, saying, "The RJD (Tejashwi) leader must remember that he held the RWD 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."

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