Malkangiri: A portion of the under-construction Gurupriya bridge near Balimela reservoir collapsed today after incessant rains lashed several parts of Malkangiri district since last few days.
Under the impact of flash floods, three girders of the bridge between 10th and 11 columns caved in. No casualty was reported in the incident.
It is alleged that low quality construction has resulted in the bridge collapse where Kolkata-based Royal Infraconstru Ltd was awarded the contract for construction of the bridge. Last year, Chief Secretary had set July as the deadline. Later, it was rescheduled to September.
“Completion of the bridge will be delayed. No major damage to the bridge and no casualty has been reported,” Works Secretary Nalini Kanta Pradhan said.
Notably, the work of much-awaited bridge, which would provide road connectivity to around 154 villages spread over seven panchayats with a population of 30,000 tribals in the cut-off areas of the district, was delayed due to several reasons – Maoist threat being on the top of the list.
Worth mentioning, the infrastructure company had undertaken the construction of the work after Gammon India Limited abandoned the project after a series of attacks on its men and machinery.
It may be recalled here that the foundation stone for this all-important bridge was laid way back in 1982 by the then Chief Minister late JB Patnaik and again by present Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in 2000.
Initially, the construction work was assigned to the Odisha Bridge Construction Corporation (OBCC) and was later taken up by GIL. But GIL backed out shortly after starting work owing to repeated attacks on its men and equipment by the Red rebels.