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Bridge splits departments

A bridge has created a rift between the disaster management department and urban development and housing minister Samrat Choudhary.

Five days after the disaster management department declared it requested the army to build a temporary bridge over Saidpur Nalah at Sancihara Sthan in Sandalpur, no work has started. Floodwater was flushed out from most low-lying areas in eastern Patna, but a small bridge lies submerged at Saidpur Nalah.

Disaster management department principal secretary Vyasji admitted to The Telegraph that the army help was sought. “It was on Patna Municipal Corporation’s (PMC’s) request that we approached the army for laying an alternative bridge at Sanichara Sthan. We had asked PMC to coordinate with the army. We would intervene only when requested by PMC but no such communication has come from them,” Vyasji said.

Sources claimed three engineers from the Military Engineer Services (MES), Ranchi, came on Wednesday to chalk out strategies for the new bridge. Source said they recced the site and submitted a report to their unit in Ranchi.

In a snub to the disaster management department for hyping the issue, urban development and housing department minister Samrat Choudhary said: “I would like to ask the disaster management department to tell us the areas from where the army drained out water. PMC, with help of residents, flushed out excess rainwater from almost the entire city. As far as the new bridge is concerned, we had not asked the disaster management department to call the army. We had just asked them to find out ways by which an alternative bridge can come up without obstructing traffic flow on the existing bridge.”

The army was called to look into a sunken pulia (small bridge) on the Nalah and allow quick discharge of floodwaters from Rajendra Nagar. But with the bridge lying sunken, the threat of heavy flooding remains large at Rajendra Nagar and neighbouring areas of eastern Patna after another heavy downpour.