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Ganga’s Bridge of Discord : Nitish Kumar and Opposition Engage in Blame Game as Ganga River Bridge Collapses in Bihar

  • Posted on June 5, 2023
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Bhagalpur: An under-construction bridge collapsed, in Bihar's Bhagalpur district

Bihar:-

On Sunday, a bridge that was being built over the Ganga river in Bihar collapsed. Officials from the state government have stated that certain sections of the bridge were intentionally destroyed because of inherent design deficiencies. 

The government faced severe criticism from the opposition as photos of the collapsing bridge, meant to connect Khagaria district with Bhagalpur, emerged on the internet and the media.

Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav
Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav

In response, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav and Additional Chief Secretary of Road Construction Department, Pratyay Amrit, held a press conference to explain the situation.

Yadav stated that after a portion of the bridge collapsed in April of the previous year, they sought assistance from IIT-Roorkee to conduct a study. Although the final report is still pending, preliminary findings from experts indicated serious defects in the structure. Therefore, they decided not to take any chances and proceeded with dismantling parts of the bridge. 

The state government plans to consider lodging an FIR (First Information Report) and blacklisting the contracted company once the final report is available.

The estimated cost of the bridge was Rs 1,700 crore. Yadav emphasized that last year's bridge collapse during a thunderstorm had already raised concerns, and he had raised the issue while serving as the Leader of the Opposition. 

Upon assuming power, they initiated an inquiry and sought expert opinions. Yadav revealed that the experts had identified numerous structural defects, and they had already dismantled vulnerable portions. The recent incident confirmed their fears.

Fortunately, no casualties or injuries were reported during the evening collapse, which was captured on camera by bystanders. As the media circulated the video footage, the state BJP president, Samrat Choudhary, called for the resignation of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had ended his party's alliance with the BJP in August of the previous year. 

Fellow BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain blamed the mishap on corruption and demanded a high-level inquiry, raising concerns about other construction projects awarded to the same contractor.

Pratyay Amrit, during the press conference, mentioned that the chief minister had summoned him after learning about the incident. Nitish Kumar requested a detailed report on the mishap and instructed strong action against those responsible. 

Patna : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inspects the rise in the water level of Ganga river
Patna : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inspects the rise in the water level of Ganga river

The bridge, which was scheduled to be completed by November 2019, was crucial for improving connectivity in north Bihar. Yadav reassured that they remained committed to completing the project and rectifying the issues.

In a tweet, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) led by Yadav brought attention to the fact that a significant portion of the construction projects took place while Mangal Pandey, Nand Kishore Yadav, and Nitin Nabin held the position of road construction ministers in the past. The tweet raised a pertinent question as to whether the Bjp would acknowledge their responsibility in light of this revelation.

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