British-era bridge collapse gives officials wake-up call
District officials have started investigating into the condition of bridges along the Upper Ganga Canal route in Ghaziabad district after the 70-m-long Chitora Bridge near NH-24 collapsed on Friday. Peeyush KhandelwalUpdated: Sep 06, 2010 02:28 IST
District officials have started investigating into the condition of bridges along the Upper Ganga Canal (UGC) route in Ghaziabad district after the 70-m-long Chitora Bridge near NH-24 collapsed on Friday.
The bridge, which was built in 1854 during the British era, and five other similar bridges on the UGC route were officially declared dangerous by the officials of canal division of state government's irrigation department.
Seven other bridges in the Bulandshahr district have also been declared dangerous.
"These 13 bridges have already completed their lifetime and were declared dangerous. We have already written to the state officials about the condition of these bridges and they were supposed to be constructed afresh," said Shailender Gaur, Executive Engineer, canal division.
However, till date nothing has materialised on the ground level and nearby residents fear about their safety as thousands of vehicles and people ply through the bridges.
"We have requested the district officials to build new bridges several times, but no one ever paid heed to the condition of these bridges," said Amarjeet Singh, a resident of Chitora. Canal department officials said they maintained the bridges regularly.
District Magistrate Hridesh Kumar said that construction of a new bridge would be initiated soon.
"We are concerned about the conditions of these bridges which have completed their lifetime. We have summoned reports from various departments and will expedite the new construction with the state officials," Kumar said.
The officials, however, said construction of new bridges was considered for the upcoming UGC-Expressway project.
The project, involving Rs 7,000 crore, has not begun yet because of bottlenecks between the state government and the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
Officials said that only very light vehicles were allowed to ply on these bridges, but local residents were continuously using heavy vehicles, which led to Friday's incident. They said it could further endanger them.