Bhubaneswar/Dubenpalli: With collapse of two under construction bridges in the State within a fortnight allegedly due to poor quality work, Odisha government seems to have toughened its stand against the wrongdoers and is mulling punitive action against the contractor and officials in Sunday’s collapse of a portion of under construction bridge over Jira river on the Jamdol- Dubenpalli road in Bheden block of Odisha’s Bargarh district.
The Rural Development department which was constructing the bridge over Jira river under the Biju Setu Yojana is contemplating to blacklist the concerned contractor firm from undertaking any job of the State government in future while stopping payments of its arrears.
“All aspects will be examined and if criminal neglect is found action will be taken. The concerned contractor will be blacklisted. He won’t get his arrears. We will also try to see to it that such contractor doesn’t get jobs in the future,” informed Bishnupada Sethy, Secretary Rural Development speaking to reporters.
Police today arrested Rural Development department’s Assistant Engineer Kamalakanta Taria and Junior Engineer Manoranjan Mohapatra in connection with the collapse of the under construction bridge over Jira river yesterday. They were suspended yesterday following the bridge collapse. However, the Executive Engineer who was also suspended yesterday and concerned contractor are absconding.
The bridge was being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 8.46 crore under the Biju Setu Yojana.
Meanwhile, Rural Development department’s Chief Engineer Bharat Chandra Pradhan today visited the bridge site at Dubenpalli to conduct an on-spot inquiry. He has been asked to submit his report by this evening.
“Locals are alleging that it was due to poor quality the bridge has collapsed. In order to prove that work was of poor quality different tests need to be conducted. We have to test the quality of stone chips, sand, cement, rods etc. used in the construction. We are collecting samples of those. We are also going to measure the size of the rods used in the casting of the slab. Only then we can say that actually the work was of poor quality,” said Pradhan speaking to reporters at the bridge site.
On the other hand, opposition politicians are trying to make hay while the sun shines over the bridge collapse issue.
“Percentage commission (PC) by engineers and ruling party leaders is the cause of the poor quality work which has resulted in collapse of the bridge. Even locals who had complained of low quality work were threatened,” alleged Nihar Ranjan Mahananda, former Congress MLA who was on a visit to the bridge collapse site.
“All including the Junior Engineer (JE), the departmental engineer, concerned minister and the Chief Minister are responsible. There are allegations of poor quality work and PC. So where is transparency?” asked BJP state unit vice president Sameer Mohanty.
However, Snehangini Churia, Minister Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts who was on visit to the bridge site today assured that exemplary action will be taken against those found guilty of the lapse.
“Why it happened? For whose mistake or negligence it happened is being probed. After its found out certainly exemplary action will be taken against them,” stated Churia to reporters at the bridge site.