Plea in Supreme Court seeks audit of all Bihar bridges amid collapse spree

The petition has sought directions to the Bihar government to demolish or retrofit weak structures amid a string of bridge collapse incidents in the last two weeks.
Plea in Supreme Court seeks audit of all Bihar bridges amid collapse spree
Jaano Junction

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Bihar government to conduct a structural audit of all existing and under construction bridges in the state amid a string of bridge collapses in the past two weeks.

As many as nine bridges have collapsed in Bihar in the past 15 days amid heavy rain. The petitioner, advocate Brajesh Singh, has also sought directions to the government to demolish or retrofit weak structures.

The plea also stated that guidelines and a policy should be framed to ensure a proper system for real-time monitoring of government construction, including bridges.

Calling the bridge collapses "man-made disasters", the plea stated that back-to-back incidents in Bihar clearly indicated no lessons have been learnt and the safety of critical infrastructure was not taken seriously.

The plea said these routine incidents cannot be termed merely accidents.

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Plea in Supreme Court seeks audit of all Bihar bridges amid collapse spree

"It is a matter of grave concern that in a state like Bihar, which is the most flood-prone state in India, the total flood-affected area in the state is 68,800 sq km, which is 73.06 per cent of the total geographical area. Hence, such routine accrual of the incident of falling bridges in Bihar is more disastrous as the lives of people at large are at stake," the petition said.

The petitioner sought the urgent intervention of the Supreme Court, saying such incidents might also happen in the future due to the gross negligence of the government and the corrupt nexus of the contractors and concerned agencies.

The bridge collapse incidents have been reported from Madhubani, Araria, East Champaran and Kishanganj districts.

In the wake of such incidents and after facing backlash from the opposition, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar chaired a meeting and directed the Road Construction Department (RCD) and Rural Works Department (RWD) to immediately conduct a survey of all old bridges in the state and identify those that require immediate repair.

Source: India Today

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