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Bridge collapse heat on officials

- Three-member probe team set up

Imphal, Feb. 10: The Manipur public works department today suspended officials, including a senior engineer, for the collapse of an under-construction bridge in Imphal East district last week.

The department also constituted a three-member inquiry committee, headed by principal secretary (works) Ram Muivah, to look into the collapse. The other two members are chief engineer M. Lokendro and superintending engineer N. Subhash.

PWD minister Kh. Ratankumar Singh said they had suspended the officials and constituted the inquiry committee in accordance with the preliminary findings.

“The committee has been asked to submit its report within a month from today,” he said, adding that further action would be taken according to its findings.

The minister said a showcause notice had been served on the contractor, Liaqat Ali, to be replied within a month.

The 60m-long and 15m-wide bridge, being constructed across the Iril at Keirao Litan Makhong, collapsed on Wednesday, injuring five labourers, who were treated at an Imphal hospital.

The officials suspended for the collapse are executive engineer L. Ingochouba, assistant engineer N. Bomol, section officer Md Abdul Khalid and supervisor S. Shantikumar.

Ratankumar Singh said the decision to suspend the officials was taken after a team led by him inspected the damages a day after the collapse.

Local residents blamed the works department for the collapse.

“The department fails to ensure that contractors maintain quality. We demand that the department should check the work round-the-clock to prevent another collapse,” one of them said.

The construction of the bridge had started two years ago at a cost of Rs 6.43 crore, which was provided by the Centre from the non-lapsable central pool of resources.

It was scheduled to be completed by December last year, but failed to meet the target.

Ratankumar Singh said the committee would also re-examine the design of the bridge and quality of the materials used for construction.

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