A link road to a new bridge in Bihar opened to the public a month ago by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was washed away due to heavy rain on Wednesday. As the opposition attacked Nitish Kumar saying the bridge had collapsed, his government and party put out strong denials.
The road was near Sattarghat Bridge on the Gandak River in Gopalganj, around 150 km from Patna. Opposition leaders - Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Madan Mohan Jha of the Congress - tweeted pictures alleging the "brand new Sattarghat Bridge has collapsed just a month after it was inaugurated by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar." Over Rs 260 crore was spent on the bridge, they said.
Calling it "fake news", the Bihar government put out a clarification on social media. According to state government officials, a road around two kilometre from the main bridge was damaged. The link road runs along the embankment and has no direct connection to the Sattarghat Bridge, which is safe, the government note said.
"An inquiry has been ordered to find out why the link road collapsed,: state minister Nand Kishore Yadav told NDTV.
Reports had claimed, quoting official, that the culverts connecting the road to the bridge could not withstand the water pressure. Large tracts around the area are under flood waters. Government officials and a team of engineers reached the spot last evening to assess the damage.
Opposition leaders were quick to target Nitish Kumar on Twitter, alleging corruption. "Washing away of bridges has become a common thing under Nitish Kumar's rule. Did he inaugurate the bridge before time just to gain some appreciation? We demand that the Bihar government should immediately blacklist the company that has constructed the bridge," Tejaswi Yadav said. Bihar Congress chief, Madan Mohan Jha also took potshots at the Chief Minister on Twitter. "The bridge was constructed at a cost of Rs 263.47 crore and inaugurated on June 16. It was washed away on July 15. Now, don't accuse rats for this," Mr Jha wrote on Twitter.