MALKANGIRI(ODISHA): A portion of a vital under-construction bridge near Balimela reservoir in Malkangiri district has collapsed due to incessant rains in the region.
Three girders of the Gurupriya bridge between columns 10 and 11 caved in due to heavy rains yesterday, works secretary N K Pradhan said.
Though the incident took place when people were working on the 910 metre-long bridge, there was no casualty, he said. No major damage to the bridge was reported, he said.
The bridge would be vital from the security point of view as it would connect Chitrakonda with Maoist pockets in the cut-off areas.
As a result of the collapse, the completion of the bridge would be delayed by at least two months, Pradhan said. Septemeber, 2017 was the deadline for completion of the work.
On completion, the much-awaited bridge would provide road connectivity to around 154 villages spread over seven panchayats with a population of 30,000 tribals in the cut-off areas of the district.
Construction of the bridge had earlier been delayed due to several reasons. Initially contractors were not ready to take up the job in view of the Maoist threat.
A Kolkata-based construction company took over the construction after Gammon India Limited abandoned the project after a series of attacks on its men and machinery.
The foundation stone of the bridge was laid way back in 1982 by the then Chief Minister JB Patnaik and again by present Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in 2000.
Initially, the construction work was assigned to the Odisha Bridge Construction Corporation (OBCC) and later taken up by GIL and finally, it was being executed by a Kolkata-based company.