24 February 2024
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Over a week after the collapse of the four-lane Sultanganj-Aguwani Ghat bridge being built across the Ganga in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district, the body of the missing security guard was found in Kauwakol block, an official said.

The body was found by the workers engaged in removal of debris of the collapsed bridge from the flood plain of Kauwakol block, the official said.

The deceased has been identified as Vibhash Kumar, who was working as a guard for the Haryana-based private firm that was constructing the bridge. Deployed on pillar number 10 of the Sultanganj-Aguwani Ghat bridge, which collapsed on June 4, Vibhash Kumar went missing since then.

Talking to reporters here, Dharmendra Kumar, Station House Officer (SHO) of Parbata Police Station, said, “After the recovery of the body on Tuesday, family members of Vibhash Kumar were immediately informed. His uncle, Ramvilasa Yadav, and other family members identified the body of Kumar. Later, the body was sent for post-mortem examination”.

Kumar died in the bridge collapse and his body was swept away by water currents.

A section of an under-construction bridge, known as Aguwani-Sultanganj bridge, over the Ganga river collapsed in Bhagalpur district on June 4. This bridge was being built to connect Bhagalpur and Khagaria. A day after the collapse, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had said that strict action would be taken against those found guilty.

“The bridge that collapsed had also collapsed last year. It is not being constructed properly that is the reason it collapsed twice since April 2022”, the CM had told reporters.

Immediately after the incident, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister, Tejashwi Yadav, who also holds the portfolio of the Road Construction department, had said that the state government was anyway planning to demolish the under-construction bridge because of structural flaws.

“A portion of this bridge had collapsed on April 30 last year. We had, thereafter, approached IIT-Roorkee, which is known for its expertise in construction matters, to conduct a study. It is yet to come up with a final report but experts who had studied the structure had informed us that there were serious defects,” Yadav had said.

The Haryana-based company, which was awarded the contract, has already been served with a show cause notice by the Managing Director of Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam and asked to reply within 15 days following the incident. The department also suspended the executive engineer concerned for his failure to keep an eye on the quality of the work.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Abdul Gh Lone