Under Construction Aguwani-sultanganj Bridge Collapses
The Indian government is facing accusations of corruption after an enormous bridge collapsed for the second time in the span of a year. No casualties were reported with no movement of people or vehicles on the bridge when nearly 250 meters (820 feet) of the concrete surface connecting pillars crashed into the Ganges River on Sunday.
The bridge was still under construction when it collapsed into the water.
A video shows locals stopping to watch as the structure, in Khagaria in Bihar, eastern India, fell apart.
The video has been widely shared on social media, prompting public ridicule.
Work on the bridge began in 2014 but eight deadlines have been missed.
When 2019, the original deadline, came around, just a quarter of the work had been completed.
Bihar state’s top elected official, Nitish Kumar, said in a statement: “Those found guilty will not be spared”.
But the government has come under fire as rather than penalising the company or cancelling the contract after their repeated failures, they have simply extended the deadline.
On April 30 last year, the bridge was brought down by strong winds and rain.
Despite allegations of the use of substandard and defective materials, no action was taken against the company – although the government did ask engineers at the Indian Institutes of Technology to look at it for structural and design flaws.
The bridge has become a symbol for what is an alleged culture of corner-cutting in India, in which it is argued inferior parts and materials are used so that officials and politicians can pocket the difference.
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Tejashwi Yadav, a local official, claimed that the collapse had been a “planned demolition” because certain defects had been found.
However, no available evidence supports this, with no prior warning given and no suggestion that the area had been cordoned off.
The bridge collapse was criticized by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is the opposition party in the state.
BJP spokesman Shehzad Poonwalla described it as “the bridge of corruption.”
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The collapse comes after an official investigation into the country’s deadliest rail crash in more than two decades was launched.
Preliminary findings suggested a signal failure as the cause of the incident, which killed at least 275 people and injured 1,200.
The disaster struck last Friday, when a passenger train hit a stationary freight train, causing it to jump the tracks. It then hit another passenger train passing in the opposite direction near the district of Balasore, in the eastern state of Odisha.
And last October, a 140-year-old suspension bridge collapsed in the town of Morbi, Gujarat, after a clock-making company was entrusted with renovating it. More than 140 people were killed.
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