IAS officer said ‘strong winds’ led to Bihar bridge collapse. Nitin Gadkari was ‘amazed’
Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday he was ‘amazed’ at the response of an IAS officer, who, the minister said, held ‘strong winds’ responsible for the collapse last month of a portion of an under-construction bridge in Bihar. “A bridge fell in Bihar. I asked my secretary about the possible reasons. He said the incident took place due to strong winds,” Gadkari, the minister for road transport and highways, said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, who is known as an efficient administrator, as well as for publicly reprimanding officers of his ministry, further said he could not believe that a bureaucrat would come up with such an explanation. “I fail to understand how a bridge collapsed due to strong winds. There must be something wrong with the structure,” he remarked at an event in the national capital.
The veteran leader, 64, also emphasised on the need to reduce the cost of building bridges, but without any compromise on quality.
Meanwhile, the incident, which the minister was referring to, took place in the state’s Sultanganj on April 29. A portion of an under-construction mega bridge, being built, on the river Ganga, linking Bhagalpur and Khagalia and Bhagalpur, caved in. However, just like Gadkari’s secretary, local officials, too, said the collapse likely took place under the impact of storm and rains that lashed the area.
The construction on the four-lane bridge commenced in 2014 and was scheduled to conclude in 2019. The completion, however, got delayed due to procedural delays in land acquisition, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. The structure, which has a length of 3.11 kilometre, is being built by SP Singla Constructions Limited for the Bihar Pul Nirman Nigam Limited (BRPNNL) at a cost of ₹1710.77 crore.
Nitish Kumar, the Bihar chief minister, has already ordered a probe into the incident.
(With PTI inputs)