Bridge in poll bound Bihar washed away before inauguration
Locals have alleged use of substandard material for the construction of the bridge, however, the contractor has denied it.
A long cherished dream of thousands of residents of about a dozen villages of Dighalbank block of Kishanganj district in Bihar got shattered when an almost complete bridge was washed away in the current of Kankai river on Wednesday. Locals have demanded a high-level probe into the collapse and stringent punishment for those involved in the building of the bridge.
The bridge was being built at Godabari of Pattharghatti panchayat of Dighalbank block of Kishanganj district at a cost of Rs 1.42 crore. The construction of the bridge started in June last year (2019) and it took a year for it to be completed; it was awaiting inauguration when it got washed away in the current of Kankai river.
“The foundation stone of the bridge was laid in June last year (2019) and exactly after a year, the bridge was ready,” locals said, adding, “The work on approach road was being carried on when it was washed away. We were waiting for its inauguration just before the enforcement of the model code of conduct.”
Raising a finger over construction quality, a local teacher identified as Jamil Akhtar said, “Our dream and our long struggle were washed away with the bridge.” He alleged substandard material was used in the making of the bridge.
The bridge was the result of a long-sustained struggle by locals for several years and was to help rid them of connectivity issues due to perennial floods in Kankai river.
“The bridge was supposed to emerge as a savior for the people living in about 12 villages and was a link between Kurhaili Haat and Bahadurganj Matiyari Main Road of Dighalbank block” Md Imran, a local leader said, adding “We have been cursed to live in floods.”
Junior engineer of rural development department Ramanand Yadav declared it a natural calamity. “When the building of the bridge had begun there was a dead stream of Kankai river but this year the course of the river changed which resulted in the tragedy,” he said.
Contractor Md Nadim ruled out the use of substandard materials in the making of the bridge and said, “We are ready to face any inquiry”.