Bihar govt notice to construction company over bridge collapse, executive engineer suspended

The Rs 1,710 crore four-lane road bridge project connected Sultanganj in the Bhagalpur district and Aguwani Ghat in the Khagaria district



Bihar's Nitish Kumar government, which is facing flak over the Khagaria-Bhagalpur bridge collapse, on Monday served notice to construction company S.P. Singla Construction Pvt Ltd, while an Executive Engineer of the Road Construction Department has been suspended.

The Rs 1,710 crore four-lane road bridge project connected Sultanganj in the Bhagalpur district and Aguwani Ghat in the Khagaria district.

The Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Ltd has served notice to S.P. Singla Construction, asking why the Bihar government should not blacklist this company.

The Executive Engineer is facing the charge of failing to keep an eye on construction proceedings and irregularities the construction company had opted for during the construction of the bridge. Sources have said that the company has used low grade materials during the construction and the pilings are also under a question mark.

According to a district administration official, irregularities and designer faults, on a massive scale, appeared during the design and construction of the bridge. He said that the construction company has piled 150 feet to construct a pillar on the banks of the river but the same height was used for the middle of the river where water is generally at the highest level.

The company needed to pile more than 200 feet in the middle of the river which was not the case in this bridge, thus leading to two back-to-back two collapses in the last 14 months.

There are 22 pillars in the middle of the river and as the depth of the piles are all 150 feet deep, it was inevitable that deterioration would arise in all these pillars.

Earlier in the day, JD-U MLA from Parbatta in Khagaria, Sanjiv Kumar alleged that Additional Chief Secretary Pratyay Amrit is directly involved in the corruption.

In his reaction, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose ire against the company was palpable, said: "It was a painful experience for me when I learnt about the bridge collapse on Sunday. I immediately asked the officials to go to the spot and take action against the accused persons. The bridge was not constructed in a right manner that is the reason why it had collapsed twice. The Deputy CM and officials of BRPNNL will look after it. I want to complete this bridge as soon as possible."

"I thought about the bridge in 2012 and the construction started in 2015," he added.

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