BHUBANESWAR: Sixteen months after a portion of the bridge over River Mahanadi collapsed, report of the technical committee, which was inquiring into the incident, remains incomplete, if a reply from the Works Department to an RTI query is to be believed.
Responding to an RTI application by Arabinda Mohapatra who sought the technical committee report, Superintending Engineer, Nabard (RIDF), Project Management Unit of World Bank Projects, also the PIO, stated that the inquiry is incomplete and hence the query can be answered only after submission of the report.
On August 27, a portion of 2077 metre long bridge, linking Jatamundia with Subarnapur under Athgarh, had collapsed leaving at least 13 workers injured.
While Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, also Works Minister, had expressed serious concern about the incident, the Department constituted a four-member committee headed by Chief Engineer (Civil) to probe and submit a report.
While the bridge work is almost complete, what is baffling is that the technical committee report is yet to be submitted because that would have pointed at the flaws that led to the collapse.
“Had the report been submitted on time, the Government would have been in a position to understand reasons behind the collapse and acted to rectify the mistakes. Now, nothing can be done,” sources in the Works Department said.
The non-submission of the technical committee’s report even after a year has raised serious question marks on the Department’s intent in plugging the loopholes.
Incidentally, the Jatamundia collapse was the second such incident of the bridge project, work for which had started in 2008.
The bridge project, funded by the Nabard under its RIDF Scheme, was initially estimated at `54.72 crore but a time-overrun led to escalation in cost to over `62 crore.
It is not the only project which is running behind schedule.
The crucial bridge over Kathajodi river, connecting CDA to Trishulia, has lagged too. This, despite the Works Department issuing an office memorandum in November, 2013 to increase efficiency and transparency of projects under which contractors can avail an incentive ranging from one per cent to 10 per cent of the
contract value for completing work before the stipulated date of completion.