Though the Bihar government has served notice to a Haryana-based firm, Singhla Construction Company private limited, within 72 hours of the collapse of a four-lane cable bridge on river Ganga, the controversy refuses to die down. In the wake of huge protests over the incident, the state government is contemplating on blacklisting the company.
The million-dollar question here is what will be the fate of some crucial ongoing infrastructure projects in Bihar. According to an official, if the company in question is blacklisted, several projects will be come under cloud.
The government has given 15 days’ time to the said company to respond failing which it would be blacklisted.
Inquiries revealed that the company, which was incorporated in 1996, has an impressive clientele in Delhi, Gujarat, etc. but has been in controversy over supply of sub standard materials and other anomalies.
The bridge collapse has caused immense damage to the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led government and his team of close officials. As a matter of fact, the company is engaged in major road and bridge projects in the state which raises the question mark why the “government is doing special favour” to it.
The company has been engaged in important projects like the construction of six-lane bridge and it’s approaches across river Ganga as part of Patna ring road (NH 131G) of nearly 480 km near Dighwara in Bihar, construction of Lohia chakra path on Bailey Road, four-lane high-level bridge on Koshi river and the river bridge on Ganga which collapsed on last Sunday and others.
The ruling RJD MLA Sudhakar Singh held CM Nitish responsible for the collapse. “The entire system collapsed in Bihar under the leadership of the CM. He and his team is responsible for the collapse,” Singh told media persons on Wednesday.
Without naming anyone, he said that “this is the act of an organised “loot syndicate” in which officials, politicians and contractors are jointly responsible. In previous years similar cases of bridge collapse has also been reported. A thorough inquiry should be done,” he said.
Another Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) leader and former MP Pappu Yadav was more scathing in his attack on a coterie of senior IAS officials posted in the Road Construction Department for several years. He called for a thorough inquiry into their collaboration with the construction company, he said.
“Hamaam Mein Sab Nange (everyone is exposed in the bathroom),” Yadav said hinting at a few journalists, politicians and officers as beneficiaries of the project. The “Navratna” of CM should be exposed, he said.
The BJP has already demanded a probe by the CBI or by a judge of the Patna High Court into the incident.
The company is headed by Sat Paul Singhla construction, a family run company with its registered offices in Haryana and Delhi.
Meanwhile, a two-member expert team of IIT Roorkee submitted its report on the collapse of the same bridge last year. According to official sources, the report found that the company used sub-standard materials and failed to maintain safety materials. It also said that faulty design has led to the collapse of the river bridge.
A junior executive engineer of the Road Construction Department has been suspended for his negligence. The said engineer was assigned to do the close monitoring of the progress of the construction of the bridge.
A fresh tender will be floated for the construction of this bridge.