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.Araria: A newly built bridge collapsed due to flash floods during the heavy rains in the hilly area of Nepal at Sikhti block. in Araria on Tuesday June 18, 2024. Photo: Aftab Alam Siddqui

Bihar Government Suspends Engineers and Blacklists Contractor After Araria Bridge Collapse

By Neeraj Kumar

Patna: The Bihar government has initiated action against those responsible for the collapse of a bridge in Araria before its inauguration. Two engineers have been suspended, and the contractor has been blacklisted. Criminal charges have been filed against all involved parties, and a committee has been formed to investigate the incident.

Facing embarrassment from consecutive bridge collapses, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s NDA government announced the suspension of the executive engineer, assistant engineer, and junior engineer responsible for the project. A team from Patna has been dispatched to investigate, and further actions will follow the investigation report. The contractor has been blacklisted with immediate effect.

The bridge, constructed by the Rural Works Ministry of Bihar at a cost of ₹12 crores, collapsed on Tuesday afternoon. Two pillars of the bridge over the Bakra river in Sikti block’s Padariya Ghat sank, leading to the collapse. Although the bridge was completed, traffic had not started due to the absence of an approach road. Heavy water flow in the seasonal Bakra river caused the bridge to collapse like a pack of cards, with the incident’s video going viral and causing significant embarrassment for the government.

The bridge was built in three phases: the first two by the Bridge Construction Corporation of Bihar, constructing eight pillars, and the third phase by the Rural Works Department, which added eight more pillars at a cost of ₹8 crores. Notably, only the pillars constructed by the Rural Works Department collapsed, while those built by the Bridge Construction Corporation remained intact.

In the wake of the collapse, the Central Government has blamed the Nitish Kumar administration. Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari clarified that the collapsed bridge was not under the jurisdiction of the Union Road Transport Ministry but was a project of Bihar’s Rural Development Ministry. His statement on social media aimed to address accusations against the central government for the incident.

 

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