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Ten bridges collapse in Indian state in 15 days (VIDEOS)

Infrastructure lapses with the onset of the monsoon season have raised concerns over corruption in awarding civil contracts

Ten bridges have collapsed in India’s Bihar state within two weeks amid heavy rainfall. Some of the infrastructure was decades old and was vital in connecting villages in one of the country’s most underdeveloped states.

Three bridges in the Saran district have collapsed within the last 24 hours, according to Indian media. Aman Samir, the district’s top official, announced that a high-level probe has been ordered to identify the cause of the incidents.

On Wednesday, Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, directed officials to conduct a survey of bridges in the state and identify those that require immediate repair.

Footage of some of the bridges collapsing has been widely shared on social media.

Citing government sources, the Indian Express reported that state officials have sought detailed reports on the collapses. They have also ordered notices to be issued to agencies and contractors involved in the construction of the bridges, flagging “grave lapses” such as the use of substandard material.

The report quoted the independent Bihar Engineering Services Association (BESA), which warned of similar incidents unless the government intervenes.

Lawyer Brajesh Singh has filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court seeking a “structural audit and constitution of a high-level expert committee to identify any weak bridges that might need to be demolished or strengthened,” Live Law has reported.

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Rescuers work at the collapsed terminal roof of New Delhi's international airport after heavy rains in New Delhi on June 28, 2024.
One dead and several injured as Delhi airport roof collapses (VIDEO) 

The plea also stated that a proper system must be implemented for the real-time monitoring of government-built infrastructure. The petitioner sought the urgent intervention of the Supreme Court, arguing such incidents could be repeated due to alleged negligence of the government and the corrupt nexus of contractors and agencies awarding the tenders.

Tejashwi Yadav, leader of the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) party, accused the state government of “corruption” in a lengthy post on X (formerly Twitter).

Bihar is governed by the Janata Dal (United) party, which is aligned with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the federal level.

Incessant rainfall in India has caused deaths and widespread damage in the world’s most populous nation in the past few weeks. Last week, a portion of the Delhi airport collapsed, killing a cab driver. Terminal 1 of the airport is now expected to be shut for a month for safety evaluations. Last Tuesday, The Hindu reported that 11 people in Delhi have died in rain-linked incidents.

The northeastern state of Assam has been hit hardest by monsoons. On Wednesday, the local disaster management authority reported 46 flood-related deaths in the state, while over 160,000 people have been affected by the extreme weather.

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July 04, 2024 at 03:50PM

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