Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday ordered a probe after a large portion of an under-construction four-lane bridge on the Ganga river collapsed -- the second such instance after the same structure suffered a collapse earlier due to a storm last year, an official said.
The Chief Minister, after discussing the incident with Additional Chief Secretary, Road Construction Department, Pratyaya Amrit, directed to set up a team to look into the matter, and take action against the company engaged in the construction.
A video of the collapse of the under-construction bridge has gone viral on social media.
CM Nitish Kumar said that "the culprits will not be let go scot free".
"We will take strict action against the construction company 'SK Singla'. It would be put on the 'black-list' after the investigation is completed," Amrit said, adding: "There is not a question of anyone going scot free. We are investigating the matter properly."
The four-lane bridge between Sultanpur sub-division and Khagaria district is being built at Rs 1,716 crore.
The superstructure of the bridge between pillar number 5 and 6 has collapsed.
The official said that when the bridge collapsed last year on April 30, "we consulted with the experts of IIT Roorkee".
"We requested them to investigate not only pillar number 5 but also 2, 3 and 4 as well. The design of the bridge is based on concrete structure supported by cables. This is a dream project of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
"As we were suspecting some designer fault, the proprietor of construction company 'SK Singla' along with his American designers participated in the meeting with me. We have asked them to complete the design as soon as possible as five segments are in this bridge. IIT Roorkee also completed its investigation on the faulty design a couple of days ago. A meeting was also being planned to be scheduled but amid all, this mishap happened," he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, who is also in charge of the Road Construction Department, said: "After the collapse last year, we found some cracks in the structure. Accordingly, we broke the defective structures and constructed new ones. We were suspecting fault in the design and had made changes. We have also received complaints about the structures."
Tejashwi Yadav further said that no information on any casualties has been received so far.
The crack in the structure was first detected by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, Sanjiv Kumar. He had also raised the matter in Bihar Vidhan Sabha during the budget session.
Neeraj Kumar, a JD-U MLC, said: "The Bihar government has sent a team of expert engineers to investigate the incident and find out the reasons."
BJP's Vijay Kumar Sinha, Leader of the Opposition in Bihar assembly, said: "It is not the bridge that collapsed in Bhagalpur. The trust of the people in Bihar government has gone into the Ganga river. This bridge has collapsed twice, which clearly proves that corruption has taken place on a large scale."
"Nitish Kumar should resign on moral grounds. His government is involved in corruption," said BJP's Bihar unit president, Samrat Chaudhary.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)