Bihar Bridge Collapse: Plea in SC Seeking Structural Audit of Existing & Under-Construction Bridges

Bihar Bridge Collapse

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Bihar Government to conduct the highest-level structural audit of all existing and under-construction bridges in the state. The petition also seeks orders to demolish or retrofit any weak structures depending on their feasibility, following recent bridge collapses in Bihar.

The petitioner, Advocate Brajesh Singh, has urged the Supreme Court to issue these directions. Singh stated that the issue of bridge collapses in Bihar requires urgent judicial attention, noting that, in the past two years, three major under-construction bridges and several other large, medium, and small bridges have collapsed.

He emphasized that these unfortunate incidents have resulted in fatalities and injuries, and warned that future incidents may occur due to gross negligence and the corrupt nexus between government officials and contractors.

“It is a matter of grave concern that in a state like Bihar, which is the most flood-prone state in India, the total flood-affected area is 68,800 sq. km, accounting for 73.06 percent of the total geographical area. Consequently, the frequent occurrence of bridge collapses in Bihar is particularly disastrous as it endangers many lives. Therefore, urgent intervention by this Hon’ble Court is required to prevent further loss of life, especially as under-construction bridges are collapsing routinely,” the petitioner said.

The petition also requests the Court to direct the Bihar Government to establish a policy or mechanism for real-time monitoring of all bridges—both existing and under construction—similar to the system developed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, as outlined in the guidelines issued on March 4, 2024, for the preservation of National Highways and Centrally Sponsored Schemes. This includes implementing real-time health monitoring of bridges using sensors.

Additionally, the petitioner seeks a directive for Bihar to create an efficient, permanent body through legislation or executive order. This body should consist of high-level experts responsible for continuous monitoring of all existing and under-construction bridges in the state and for maintaining a comprehensive database on the health of these structures.

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) highlights various bridge collapses, predominantly in riverine areas of Araria, Siwan, Madhubani, and Kishanganj districts, among others in Bihar.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte