In a tragic turn of events, a four-lane bridge being constructed over the Ganga River in Bhagalpur district of Bihar, India, collapsed for the second time. The bridge, connecting Sultanganj in Bhagalpur with Aguwani in Khagaria district, was a crucial infrastructure project with an estimated cost of ₹1,716 crore. The collapse has prompted the State Government to initiate an investigation into the incident.

The bridge’s construction has been plagued by setbacks since its inception in 2014. The initial deadline for completion was in 2019, but it has been extended multiple times, failing to meet the revised deadlines on eight occasions. The project faced its first setback last year when the bridge structure collapsed due to severe weather conditions involving strong winds and heavy rainfall. Miraculously, no casualties were reported during either collapse.

Image source: Hindustan Times

Eyewitnesses at the site of the recent collapse revealed that several workers were present on the bridge when it started crumbling. Fortunately, no reports of injuries or fatalities have emerged thus far. Nevertheless, the repeated failures have raised serious concerns about the quality of construction and adherence to safety protocols.

The Aguwani Ghat bridge holds great significance as it serves as a vital link between north and south Bihar. The project’s foundation stone was laid by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on February 23, 2014, and construction officially began on March 9, 2015. However, progress has been consistently marred by delays and shortcomings.

The state government’s response to the delays has been lenient, as instead of penalizing the construction company responsible, it has repeatedly extended the project’s deadline. Even by March 2019, only a mere 25% of the work had been completed satisfactorily. The government subsequently pushed the completion target to March 2020 and then further to 2022, providing additional time without imposing any consequences.

The first collapse occurred on April 30, 2022 when the superstructure between pillar numbers 4 and 6 succumbed to the forces of nature. This incident raised serious doubts about the quality of the construction work, yet no action was taken against the responsible company. Instead, they were granted additional time to rectify the situation.

Upon receiving news of the latest collapse, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar immediately contacted officials from the road construction department, instructing them to conduct a thorough investigation. He emphasized the need for strict action to be taken against those found responsible. The road construction department is under the purview of Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who later addressed the media, assuring that stringent measures would be taken against the guilty parties.

The repeated collapse of the bridge raises significant concerns about the overall management and execution of the project. The state government’s decision to grant repeated extensions without holding the construction company accountable has further exacerbated the situation. As the investigation unfolds, it is crucial to determine the root causes of these failures and implement measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. The completion of the Aguwani Ghat bridge remains a pressing priority, given its importance in connecting different parts of Bihar and facilitating efficient transportation across the Ganga River.

Category: National

Tag: Accident, Bihar

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