A videograb shows the under-construction bridge collapsing in Bihar, India.
An Indian state of Bihar government on Monday ordered a probe into the collapse of a portion of an under-construction bridge over the Ganges River over the weekend, the second time the structure has crashed in a year.
No casualties were reported with no movement of people or vehicles on the bridge when nearly 250 metresof the concrete surface connecting pillars crashed into the river on Sunday. Videos of the collapse spread on social media.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, speaking to reporters on Monday, also promised "strict action." "It is not being constructed correctly that is why it is collapsing. It should have been made more strong," he said.
Construction was scheduled to be completed in 2019 but faced multiple delays, including those caused by an earlier collapse on April 30 last year due to strong winds and rain.
"There was a massive stir over here, it felt like there was a blast. Later we found out the bridge had collapsed," Rakesh Kumar, a local resident, told ANI.
Eight men were on the bridge at the time of its collapse on Sunday, with one guard reported missing, ANI said.
ANI footage showed a section of the bridge partially submerged in water, with only some pillars and cables connected jutting out to indicate where that portion of the structure once stood.
"We have conducted an investigation and I have reported the findings to the head of the district administration," Deputy Head of District Administration Amit Raj told ANI.
India’s infrastructure has long been marred by safety concerns, sometimes leading to major disasters on highways and bridges. Builders often use poor quality construction materials to cut costs.
The bridge collapse was criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is the opposition party in the state. The state government is headed by Kumar's regional party, the Janata Dal-United (People’s Party).
BJP spokesman Shehzad Poonwalla described it as "the bridge of corruption.”
The construction of the 3.6-kilometre long bridge started in 2014, but it suffered delays and was scheduled to be inaugurated later this year connecting the town of Bhagalpur with Khagaria, about 250 kilometreseast of Patna, the state capital. It was being built by a private company at a cost of Rs17 billion ($208 million).
The bridge between Sultanganj and Khagaria collapsed last year as well. At that time, the officials said that the bridge collapsed due to strong winds.
The Bihar government had said that it would take action against the construction company 'SK Singla.’ After the investigation, a clean-chit was given to the company, and it was given time to complete the project.
At least 77 people, including women and children, were killed and scores were missing as the hanging bridge over the Machhu dam in Gujarat's Morbi district collapsed on Sunday evening, officials said.
At least 177 survivors were pulled from the river and teams from the army, navy and air force were searching for others still missing, said Jigar Khunt, an information department official in Gujarat said.
The Indian suspension bridge collapse that killed more than 132 is a totally human tragedy, it’s so painful that the unfortunate incident took innocent lives in the western Indian state of Gujarat (“India suspension bridge collapse kills 132,” Oct. 31, Gulf Today website).
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