16 engineers suspended over series of bridge collapse incidents in Bihar

Additional Chief Secretary of WRD revealed that the contractors responsible for the collapse of the bridges were being identified and would be held accountable soon.
A bridge over a canal after it collapsed, in Bihar's Siwan district.
A bridge over a canal after it collapsed, in Bihar's Siwan district.Photo | PTI

PATNA: The Bihar government on Friday suspended 16 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).

Additional Chief Secretary of the Water Resources Department (WRD), Chaitanya Prasad, stated that the state government took the recent collapse of a series of bridges seriously and initiated disciplinary action against the officials for their negligence.

He revealed that the contractors responsible for the collapse of the bridges were being identified and would be held accountable soon.

“Such serious lapses can’t be ignored and those found guilty will not be spared, whosoever they may be,” he told media persons.

In addition to the suspension of 16 engineers, explanations have been sought from two other engineers. The role of some executive engineers is under the scanner of the government. “The role of some executing contractors is being verified,” sources said.

The action was initiated against 16 engineers of the department a day after the collapse of the 10th bridge in Saran district on Thursday.

Thursday’s incident was the third in a span of 24 hours, sources in the Water Resources Department said.

The incidents of bridge collapses were reported from Saran, Siwan, Araria, Madhubani, East Champaran, and Kishanganj districts in the state.

A senior executive engineer, citing the report, said, “Out of these collapsed bridges, six were very old and three were under construction.”

The remaining one was a small bridge. The report of the flying squad revealed that the concerned engineers didn’t take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the bridges and culverts situated on the rivers, nor did they conduct technical supervision.

The departments concerned swung into action after a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on July 3. The meeting discussed maintenance policies to keep the bridges and culverts intact.

During the meeting, it came to light that the Road Construction Department had already prepared its maintenance policy while the Rural Works Department was yet to start the exercise.

CM Nitish instructed the Rural Works Department to begin work on it at the earliest.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav sought to know the reason for the collapse of about a dozen bridges in the state recently. He claimed that 12 bridges have fallen in Bihar since June 18.

“Both PM Modi and CM Nitish Kumar are silent on the issue. What happened to the claims of good governance and a corruption-free government in Bihar?” the RJD leader said in a post on ‘X’.

He said these incidents show how corruption is rampant in every department of the state government. In response to a query, Tejashwi said on Friday that he was deputy CM for just 18 months, while the rest of the period was held by a JD(U) minister.

A bridge over a canal after it collapsed, in Bihar's Siwan district.
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