“Why After Polls”: Union Minister’s Theory As 5 Bihar Bridges Fall In 9 Days

Union Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi is seeing a “conspiracy” in back-to-back bridge collapse incidents in Bihar. “Why have bridges started to collapse only after the Lok Sabha elections?” he wondered as he spoke to reporters in Gaya.

“Why were such incidents not taking place 15 or 30 days before? Why have bridges started to collapse only after the Lok Sabha elections? Why are they collapsing now? Is there any conspiracy to defame the state government?” the minister said.

Five bridges – in Araria, Siwan, East Champaran, Kishanganj, and Madhubani districts – have collapsed across the state in the last nine days.

On Friday, an under-construction bridge collapsed in Bihar’s Madhubani region. The 75-meter bridge was being built by the Rural Works Department of the Bihar government since 2021.

The Minister of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) also said that those involved in “wrongdoings” would be penalised.

“The state and central governments are closely monitoring such incidents. Those contractors or engineers involved in wrongdoings will be penalised,” he said.

Mr Manjhi also blamed “sub-standard material used by the contractors” for the incidents: “It is happening because of the sub-standard material being used by contractors. The state government is taking action against such contractors. The state authorities are probing the matter as well. I also request them to probe the conspiracy angle.”

The state government is receiving a lot of flak from the opposition because of the frequent bridge collapses. Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav, on Saturday mocked the Nitish Kumar government and said, “Due to the double power of the double-engine government in Bihar, only 5 bridges have collapsed in just 9 days.”

The Madhubani incident came just a day after another bridge fell in Kishanganj district.

The third incident of bridge collapse was in the Ghodasahan block of East Champaran on June 23.

On June 22, the bridge built on the canal connecting Daraunda and Maharajganj blocks in Siwan collapsed. Earlier, a bridge worth Rs 12 crore on the Bakra river in the Sikti block of Araria district collapsed on June 18.

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