A Brief History of Bihar Bridge Collapse – India News
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A Brief History of Bihar Bridge Collapse – India News

At least 12 bridges have collapsed in Bihar in the past few months, with the latest incident taking place on July 4 in Saran district, a reminder of the countless number of bridges that have collapsed in the northern state over the past decade.

Bihar is no stranger to incidents of bridge collapses. Apathy continues to plague the state government and authorities concerned, reflecting the ongoing challenges in infrastructure development and maintenance.

While the government has cited de-silting operations in the state and heavy rains as possible reasons for the collapse of the bridges, the issue has become the strongest weapon for the opposition parties, which have been mercilessly attacking the Nitish Kumar government, accusing it of corruption and inaction.

A Brief History of Bihar Bridge Collapse – India News Read also: Bihar Bridge Collapse: 12 Collapses in 17 Days – What’s the Cause?

Notable incidents include the Bhagalpur and Sattarghat bridge collapse incidents in June 2020, the latter just 29 days after its inauguration. More recently, between June and July 2024, 12 bridges collapsed in Bihar in just 17 days.

Here is a brief history of bridge collapse in Bihar

  • Bhagalpur Bridge Collapse – About 14 months ago, parts of the Sultanganhj Aguwani bridge, which was under construction, collapsed in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district during a storm due to a loose cable. The same four-lane bridge collapsed again in June this year.
  • Sattarghat Bridge Collapse – In July 2020, just 29 days after its inauguration, the Sattarghat Bridge over the Gandak River in Gopalganj district collapsed due to heavy rains and strong currents, raising questions about the quality of construction and supervision.
  • Saharsa Bridge Collapse – Three labourers were injured when a section of a bridge collapsed in Bihar’s Saharsa district in June 2022. The accident occurred on the eastern side of the Kosi embankment in Kandumer village under Simri Bakhtiyarpur block in Saharsa district.
  • British era bridge collapse – A 136-year-old road bridge collapsed in state capital Patna due to heavy rains. The bridge was located in the suburb of Fatuha, 25 km from Patna. The bridge was built in 1884 during the British period.
  • Nalanda Bridge Collapse – On November 18, 2022, an under-construction road bridge collapsed in Bihar’s Nalanda district, killing one person.. Construction of a road bridge was underway on a four-lane section in the Vena block.
  • Darbhanga Bridge Collapse – On January 16, 2024, an iron bridge collapsed in Darbhanga district of Bihar due to an overloaded truck. The incident took place at Sabohar Ghat under Kusheshwar Asthan block in Darbhanga.
  • Purnia Bridge Collapse – An under-construction bridge in Bihar’s Purnia district collapsed four hours after concreting on May 16, 2024. Residents alleged that the contractor and engineers used substandard materials, which led to the accident.

12 bridges collapsed in 17 days

Two bridges collapsed one after the other in Kisanganj between June 27 and 30. One of them was reported from Khoshi Dangi village in Thakurganj, where a pillar of a bridge built in 2007-08 with funds from then MP Taslimuddin was damaged on June 27 due to heavy rain and subsequent increase in water discharge into the river. According to local Mukhiya Jawahar Singh, around 50,000 people were affected by the disaster.

Read also: Bihar govt suspends 16 engineers after 10 bridges collapse in 15 days across state

Another bridge was damaged over the Maria River in Bahadurganj area of ​​Kisanganj. This bridge was constructed in 2011 under NDA provisions by the state rural works department at an estimated cost of Rs 25 lakh.

On June 23, an under-construction bridge collapsed in Ghodasahan area of ​​East Champaran. The construction work was carried out by Dheerendra Construction Company at an estimated cost of Rs 1.5 crore. Locals blamed it on irresponsible construction.

On July 1, a makeshift bamboo bridge over the Baghmati river in Aurai block of Muzaffarpur district was reported damaged, and videos went viral on social media. Locals said they build makeshift bridges for access at their own expense every year, which got damaged this season.

Three bridges collapsed one after the other in Maharajganj block of Siwan district on July 3. One collapsed in Sikandarpur village, another in Deoria panchayat and the third in Bhikhabandh. All these structures were funded by the then MP Prabhunath Singh and are more than three decades old.

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Another under-construction bridge over the Bakra river collapsed on June 18 in Araria in Bihar. The project, at an estimated cost of nearly Rs 80 crore, was launched in May 2021 and was scheduled to be completed by 2023.

On July 2, the same fate befell a small bridge over the Gandaki river at Deoria in Siwan and another small bridge in Teghra block in the same district.

Three bridges also collapsed in the first week of July in Saran district. Of the three bridges in Saran, two over the Gandak River, just a kilometre apart, collapsed within two hours of each other on Wednesday. One bridge, built in 2004, was near the Dodh Nath temple. The other was a British-era structure. The third bridge, a 15-year-old structure over the Gandaki River, collapsed on July 4.

The latest incident came a day after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ordered a survey of all old bridges in the state to identify those that require urgent repairs. The Chief Minister also called for an improved bridge maintenance policy in both the road construction and rural works departments.

Read also: ‘One machine is involved in corruption, the other in crime’: Tejaswi slams Nitish over Bihar bridge collapse

A disturbing pattern

Bihar has been plagued by a disturbing pattern of bridge collapses, with a significant number of them occurring during the construction phase. This disturbing trend raises serious concerns about the quality of construction practices, supervision and lack of accountability in the state’s infrastructure projects.

The factors contributing to these premature collapses include poor quality materials, lack of skilled labour, de-silting of rivers, corruption and inadequate project management. The consequences of such failures are severe, leading to financial losses, delays in key connectivity projects and most importantly, potential loss of life. Addressing this issue requires stringent regulatory measures, transparent audit processes and a commitment to raising overall construction standards to ensure the safety and reliability of Bihar’s infrastructure.