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2nd Teesta Bridge collapses two days before inauguration

  • Published at 07:43 pm September 14th, 2018
2nd Teesta Road Bridge
File photo: The collapsed section of the 2nd Teesta Road Bridge, at Gangachara upazila on Friday Dhaka Tribune

It was scheduled to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister on Sunday via videoconferencing

Part of the much-hyped 2nd Teesta Road Bridge, located in the Gangachara upazila of Rangpur, has collapsed just two days to its inauguration by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The sudden collapse of a small part of this bridge on Friday snapped communications from Rangpur to four upazilas of Lalmonirhat.

According to locals, the bridge and the link road collapsed due to the strong currents of the Teesta River, which also washed away a portion of the link road leading up to the bridge around 3:30am.

The local administration had made an attempt to save the bridge and the link road by reinforcing it with sand sacks, but the effort was not sufficient.

It was scheduled to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister on Sunday via videoconferencing.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, some locals alleged that the bridge and the link road collapsed because substandard quality material was used for its construction.

They also claimed that Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) engineers Jakiur Rahman and Parvez Newaj Khan, and contracting firm Navana Construction were involved in various irregularities during the project’s implementation.

The engineers who were responsible for supervising the work did not perform their duties properly, the locals told the correspondent, adding that they protested these irregularities on several occasions, but the administration paid no heed to their complaints.

In 2012, the prime minister inaugurated construction of the 850-metre 2nd Teesta Road Bridge from a public rally held in the Lalmonirhat collectorate field.

Construction of this bridge, considered a dream project by around 50 lakh people living in four upazilas of Lalmonirhat and greater Rangpur, was scheduled for completion on June 31, 2014.

After extending the deadline for a third time, contracting firm Navana Construction completed the construction on December 31, 2017 at a cost of Tk123.86 crore. It was opened to traffic as per the directives of the prime minister before its formal inauguration.

To protect the bridge, 1300-metre river training dams were built on both sides of the bridge, while a five-km connecting road was built on two sides.

Bridge construction was supervised by the Lalmonirhat LGED Executive Engineer’s Office, and the Kaliganj upazila office implemented the project.

According to sources, the 5-km connecting road was supposed to be built on a two-foot layer of clay and mud, but the construction was completed using only cobblestones on sand.

There are allegations that LGED engineers allowed the construction to progress amid irregularities, in exchange for bribes.

Addressing the issue, Manager Prabir Kumar Biswas of Navana Construction strongly denied the allegations of using substandard material in the project’s construction.

Meanwhile, LGED Executive Engineer SM Jakiur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune the collapse occurred because of a change in the course of the river.

Assuring that inauguration of this bridge will be held as per schedule, Rangpur Deputy Commissioner Shafiul Arif said: “The collapsed portion of the bridge and the road will be repaired as soon as possible.” 

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