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MP Minister Says Washed Away Seoni Bridge 'Deliberately Broken', Kicks off Blame Game Before Key Bypolls

The broken Seoni bridge that was recently constructed.

The broken Seoni bridge that was recently constructed.

The bridge was built at a cost of around Rs 3 crore by a private construction company based in Bhopal under Prime Minister Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). The construction had started on Sep 1, 2018 and was to be completed before Aug 30, 2020, which was the case but the structure could not withhold the first rain.

A newly constructed bridge, which was to be inaugurated on August 31 in Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh, was washed away in the heavy rains a day before it was thrown open.

The bridge was built on Wainganga river in the district, around 350 km from Bhopal. Completed a month ago, the bridge was said to be a crucial mode of conveyance for local residents. Although, some villagers had started using the structure before its formal inauguration.

As parts of Madhya Pradesh were lashed by heavy rains on the weekend, the newly-constructed bridge could not withstand the water force and was washed away. Viral videos showed that a large portion of the new bridge was dismantled and pillars were seen protruding out of the river in spate.

The bridge’s construction had started during the Shivraj government in year 2018 and was completed when his government returned to power. And for obvious reasons, no one is eager to take the blame that too ahead of crucial assembly by-polls.

Even as the district collector has written to senior officials for probe, PWD minister Bhupendra Singh claimed that a bridge was 'deliberately broken and someone is to be blamed'. We have initiated a probe and guilty won’t be spared, the minister told the media in Bhopal.

Opposition Congress has called this bridge another example of Shivraj-era corruption.

Congress MLA Kunal Chaudhary told News18 that there are several examples of huge corruption in the BJP government, led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the Seoni bridge is just one among them. The BJP government in past years has embezzled public’s hard-earned money on such projects, added Chaudhary.

Congress media co-ordinator Narendra Saluja claimed that two bridges had been washed away in Seoni and one of them was built under PM sadak yojana. Seeing this example, corruption in all recent constructions should be probed.

To another bridge, around a decade old in nearby Sunwara too had washed away in heavy rains.

The bridge was built at a cost of around Rs 3 crore by a private construction company based in Bhopal under Prime Minister Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). The construction had started on Sep 1, 2018 and was to be completed before Aug 30, 2020, which was the case but the structure could not withhold the first rain.

A senior government engineer in Seoni claimed that the region witnessed massive rains before the mishap and the area was flooded and on Aug 28, 29; all the ten flood gates of nearby Bhimgarh dam were opened due to which the bridge could not survive and got damaged.

Meanwhile the incident had badly affected the transport link between Sunwara and Bhimgarh areas of the district.

Seoni collector Rahul Haridas on Tuesday wrote a letter to Jabalpur divisional commissioner for assessment of construction quality of bridges in Sunwara and Bhimgarh. A divisional team will carry out a probe into these bridge collapse incidents.

first published:September 01, 2020, 19:30 IST