In yet another embarrassment to the Nitish Kumar government, a newly constructed bridge awaiting inauguration collapsed and was washed away by the floodwaters in Bihar.

This is the third such incident in the past one month and comes amid the ruling NDA governments in the state and at the Centre inaugurating projects in rapid succession ahead of the upcoming assembly polls to apparently woo the voters.

Reports said the bridge had been constructed in Dighalbank block of Kishanganj district by the Rural Works Department at a cost of Rs1.42 crore. The construction of the bridge which began in June last year was completed in June this year and it was awaiting inauguration when it got washed away following a rise in water level of the local Kankai river.

Angry villagers have now demanded an investigation into the incident and action against the erring officials.

A local villager, Mohammad Murtaza, said around five such bridges had been constructed in the areas and he requested the district administration to order an inquiry into it. “We were happy to see construction of this bridge but we are shocked to see how it collapsed like a pack of cards,” Murtaza told the media today.

The Nitish Kumar government had come under fire again after the approach road of a mega bridge constructed over the Gandak river collapsed hours before it was inaugurated by the chief minister last month (August).

The bridge had been constructed at the cost of Rs 509 crores in Gopalganj district. Another such incident took place in July when the approach road to another such bridge constructed over the same Gandak river had collapsed in the same Gopalganj district barely 29 days after its inauguration by the chief minister.

This bridge had been constructed at a cost of Rs 263 crores. The authorities, however, claimed only a portion of the approach road was washed away due to pressure from river waters. “Bridge is safe, only a portion of the approach road has collapsed,” Bihar road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav had claimed adding it would be repaired soon.

The 1.4 km-long bridge known as Sattarghat bridge was inaugurated by the chief minister on 16 June. The bridge was constructed by the Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Ltd.