A bulldozer clears away the debris of the collapsed bridge on river Dharwa on Tuesday. Picture by Ajay Mandal
Deoghar, June 14: Engineer- in-chief of road construction department Ram Naresh Raman today said poor maintenance led to the collapse of the bridge on the Dharwa river on Sunday, as Deoghar continued to cope with a water crisis after pipelines attached to the bridge were damaged in the incident.
Raman, who arrived here from Ranchi today to inspect the site on the Deoghar-Jasidih road, reiterated the official line that a Bailey bridge would be erected to cope with the rush of pilgrims who would use the stretch during the Shravani Mela, which begins on July 16. The route connects Deoghar with Jamui and Banka in Bihar.
“The order for preparing the detailed project report for a new bridge has already been given but it will take at least a year to take shape,” Raman said.
Asked if poor quality of construction led to the 33-year-old and 250-feet-long bridge collapsing, the engineer-in-chief said that could only be said after investigations, but the manner in which the pillars gave way after a night of heavy rain, points to poor maintenance and repairs.
“We should thank Lord Baidyanath that no lives were lost in the incident. It is a busy route used by hundreds of commuters everyday,” he said.
According to Raman, the mining department had been informed about the practice of indiscriminate sand dredging from the riverbed, which weakened the bridges. “The undercurrent scours away whatever sand is left after the dredging, leaving the pillars without any support,” he said.
Other than disrupting traffic, the bridge collapse has also affected water supply in the temple town of Deoghar as the pipes fitted along the bridge to supply water from the Dharwa project were damaged in the collapse. Even after three days, the drinking water and sanitation department had not taken any measure to install new pipes.
“We are going to request construction of separate pillars and a walkway for the water pipes to run along by tomorrow,” executive engineer Manoj Choudhary said.
The water crisis occurred at a particularly bad time. Arrangement for water supply from Patardih has been disrupted since June 11 because of damaged pipelines. Choudhary, however, said the Patardih line would become functional by this evening.
The Dharwa and Patardih projects supply 8 lakh gallons of water daily to Deoghar depending on power supply to the water pumps at Navadih and Patardih.
Deoghar’s total requirement is 20 lakh gallon daily.
During the month-long Shravani mela, the water requirement trebles owing to the presence of lakhs of pilgrims.