A portion of a new bridge connecting Gopalganj and East Champaran in Bihar collapsed on Wednesday after heavy rainfall in the region, just 29 days after it was inaugurated by chief minister Nitish Kumar. No injuries have been reported so far.
The 1.4km Sattarghat Mahasetu bridge on Gandak River was thrown open to commuters on June 16, eight years after work on it started in April 2012. It was built by the Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Ltd at a cost of Rs 264 crore.
But the culvert connecting the approach road to the bridge was unable to withstand the pressure caused by the rising levels of the river and was washed away after water was released from Valmiki Nagar, officials said.
The culvert had already been eroding after rains in the region over the last couple of days that has caused the river to swell. The bridge collapse has led to severe traffic disruption, with several areas being cut off as this was the only major link between Gopalganj and East Champaran.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav and Bihar Congress chief Madan Mohan Jha attacked the Chief Minister on the issue.
"The Sattarghat bridge of Gopalganj built at a cost of Rs 263.47 crore in 8 years, was inaugurated by Nitish Ji on June 16. Today, 29 days later the bridge collapsed. Beware! If someone terms it corruption by Nitish ji. Rs 263 crore is for just a glimpse. Even their rats consume alcohol worth this amount," Tejashwi Yadav tweeted in Hindi.
Bihar Congress chief Dr Madan Mohan Jha also posted in Hindi: "The inauguration of the bridge constructed at a cost of Rs 263.47 crore on June 16 and its destruction on July 15. Now do not accuse the poor rat for this."
In 2017, a minister in Nitish Kumar's cabinet had blamed rats for making holes in the embankments, weakening structures and allowing river water breach through them, thus resulting in floods in Bihar.