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Like in a disaster movie! Under-construction bridge in India’s Bihar collapses; WATCH

While the government of Bihar said the bridge was pulled down because of serious defects in its construction, the opposition alleged corruption and demanded the chief minister’s resignation.

An under-construction bridge collapses on the Ganges river in Bhagalpur in the eastern Indian state of Bihar on Sunday, June 4, 2023. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

The disturbing sight of an under-construction bridge collapsing into the Ganges river below in Bhagalpur in the eastern Indian state of Bihar has triggered a political war of words between the state government led by Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Sources in the state government told media soon after the four-lane bridge’s collapse like a house of cards on Sunday (4) evening that the structure had “serious defects” and its portions were being deliberately destroyed. Local people were seen recording the incident on their mobile phones.

“It may be recalled that a portion of this bridge had collapsed on April 30 last year. We had, thereafter, approached IIT (Indian Institute of Technology)-Roorkee, which is esteemed for its expertise in construction matters, to conduct a study. It is yet to come up with a final report but experts who had studied the structure had informed us that there were serious defects,” Bihar’s deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD said in a press conference.

Another government official, additional chief secretary of road construction department Pratyay Amrit, added that they did not want to take any chance and pulled down parts of the bridge.

An estimated Rs 1,070 crore were said to have been spent behind the structure.

The government has ordered an inquiry into the incident, NDTV added.

Yadav said, “many structural defects have been pointed out by experts and we have already pulled down many portions which have been flagged as particularly vulnerable. Today’s incident confirms our worst apprehensions”, NDTV reported.

It was also reported that a guard working near the bridge has gone missing and rescue officials were trying to find him.

The state’s opposition BJP, who chief minister Nitish Kumar dumped last year to form a new government alliance with RJD, was not convinced.

Demanding Kumar’s resignation, Bihar BJP chief Samrat Choudhary said, “Sub-standard materials were used for the construction of the bridge. The CM is least bothered about the development of Bihar…he is busy on his tour. He must resign from his post after this incident.”

He also said the incident showed that “corruption is rampant” under the current government of Bihar.

Fellow BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, a former parliamentarian from Bhagalpur who also served as a minister both at the federal and state levels, also blamed the mishap on “corruption” and sought a “high-level inquiry” into the incident.

(With PTI inputs)

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