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Collapse setback for vital bridge

A bridge that was being built to cut down travelling time between Jamshedpur and Purulia in neighbouring Bengal collapsed late on Tuesday evening, apparently because of shoddy construction material being used.

The bridge, construction of which started in December 2010 and was supposed to be completed by December 2011, was being built as part of the multi crore Subernarekha Multipurpose Project (SMP).

The site of the project, worth Rs 60 lakh, is around 20km from the steel city.

Once ready, the bridge would have provided a direct link from NH-33 at Pipla in MGM police station area to Bandwan in Purulia district.

At present, to reach Purulia, one has to cover a distance of 35km through Patamda block and Dalma forest. The bridge was planned to reduce the distance to a mere 10km.

Apart from villagers, it was supposed to benefit city traders, students and commuters who frequent Purulia and Bankura district of Bengal for various reasons.

The bridge was being built over a canal constructed as part of the SMP project and is 30 metres long and seven metres wide.

When contacted, SMP director Rahul Sharma claimed use of substandard material caused the bridge to collapse and said he had ordered a probe by the quality control cell of SMP.

“According to reports, the bridge was being constructed by a Ranchi-based contractor. Such collapses happen due to gross negligence and use of substandard materials. The slab and the supporting structure of a large chunk of the bridge gave way. A three member team of the quality control cell has been asked to submit a fact finding report within two days,” the director said.

Sources in SMP Chandil canal division, which looks after the bridge project, said Ranchi-based Rajvir Construction was already under the scanner as it had failed to complete the project within the stipulated deadline of December 2011 and this might have led the contractor to use substandard material in a hurry to complete the project.

“The contractor had given an undertaking to complete the bridge by December this year. They were using more than 25 workers at the site everyday. Fortunately, the incident took place after 8.30pm when there were no workmen around, otherwise there could have been loss of human lives,” said executive engineer of Jamshedpur canal division Dip Narayan Mandal.