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Bihar bridges collapse: 10 such incidents in 15 days, what are possible reasons behind it? EXPLAINED

The recent collapse of bridges in Bihar has raised significant alarm and concern. A petition has also been moved in the Supreme Court seeking to issue direction to the Bihar Government to conduct the highest level structural audit of all existing and under-construction bridges in the state.

Edited By: Anurag Roushan @Candid_Tilaiyan Patna Updated on: July 05, 2024 14:37 IST
Bihar bridge collapse: What are possible reasons?
Image Source : INDIA TV Officials in Bihar have been asked to conduct a survey of all small bridges across the state.

Bihar bridge collapse: The recent spate of bridge collapses in Bihar has garnered significant attention and tarnished the state's reputation. Notably, the collapse of 10 bridges within a fortnight has been particularly alarming, especially with the monsoon season just starting. This concerning trend of structural failures has not only made headlines but also raised serious questions about the integrity and safety of Bihar's infrastructure. Agitated by the successive collapses of multiple bridges in such a brief period, the Nitish Kumar government has mandated an investigation by the relevant department. Authorities have been instructed to take decisive action against any individuals found responsible for these failures.

The Chief Minister has also directed the road construction and rural works departments to conduct a survey of all old bridges in the state and identify those that require immediate repair. Ten incidents of bridge collapse have been reported in Bihar's Siwan, Saran, Madhubani, Araria, East Champaran and Kishanganj districts in over a fortnight. A PIL has also been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Bihar government to undertake a structural audit and set up an expert committee to identify bridges that can be either strengthened or demolished based on the findings. 

Bridge Collapse Timeline

June 18 Araria
June 22 Siwan
June 23 East Champaran
June 27 Kisanganj
June 28 Madhubani
July 1 Muzaffarpur
July 3 3 in Siwan
July 4 Saran

What are possible reasons behind such incidents? 

Many believe that heavy rainfall may have played a role in these incidents. However, experts contend that the collapses are primarily due to the use of sub-standard materials, failure to adhere to prescribed designs, poor quality control, inadequate supervision by departmental engineers, and violations of the recommended ratios for cement, sand, stone chips, and iron rods. On the other hand, government officials attribute the collapses to the substantial water flow from the upstream Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, which has caused millions of cusecs of water to surge into the rivers flowing through Bihar.

Multi-faceted approach is need of the hour

Unregulated construction activities near bridges, such as sand mining and unauthorised buildings, can also destabilise the surrounding areas and affect bridge foundations. Addressing these issues requires a multi-faceted approach, including stricter regulation, better construction practices, regular maintenance, and robust disaster management strategies. According to an official, most of the bridges only experience significant water flow during the monsoon season. The heavy rains in Bihar have revealed the inherent weaknesses in these structures. In some instances, pillars have collapsed due to insufficient support. In other cases, faster-flowing rivers, accelerated by dredging, have eroded the embankments, leaving the bridge tops without the necessary support.

ALSO READ: Bihar: Another bridge collapses in Saran, 10th such incident in 16 days




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