Bihar govt suspends 15 engineers over bridge collapse incidents

PATNA, Jul 5 : The Bihar government on Friday suspended 15 engineers in connection with a series of recent incidents of bridge collapse in the state, a senior official said.

The decision was taken after a probe panel submitted its report to the Water Resources Department (WRD).

A total of 10 bridges collapsed in Siwan, Saran, Madhubani, Araria, East Champaran and Kishanganj districts in the past 17 days, officials said.

The report found that the engineers were “negligent” and monitoring was “ineffective”, which is the main reason behind the collapse of small bridges and causeways in the state, Additional Chief Secretary of WRD, Chaitanya Prasad, told reporters here.

Those suspended include four executive engineers.

“The Rural Works Department has also initiated the process of blacklisting the contractor who was involved in the construction of the bridge in Araria district. The department has also stopped payment of the contractor/firm for its previous work till the completion of the probe,” said Dipak Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, RWD.

Besides, the department has sought explanation from officials concerned for the collapse of bridges in East Champaran on June 23 and in Madhubani on June 26.

“A probe has already been ordered into the collapse of RWD bridges in these two districts,” said Singh.

Commenting on the bridge collapse incidents, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav told reporters: “Why are leaders of the NDA-led Bihar government, including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, maintaining a stoic silence… These incidents prove how corruption is rampant in the ruling dispensation.”

“The portfolio of the RWD, which constructs most of the small bridges in the state, is always with JD(U) leaders. Who should be held responsible for this mess?” the former deputy CM said.

Reacting to Yadav’s comments, Jitan Ram Manjhi, Union minister and founder of the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), which is an alliance partner of the NDA, said the matter should not be politicised.

“Our chief minister has already issued strict instructions to senior officials of the department to take stern action against those who are found guilty,” he said.

Chirag Paswan, the chief of Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), another alliance partner of the NDA, added: “The NDA government in Bihar has taken the matter very seriously, and action is being initiated against the erring officials and contractors.” (PTI)

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