Telangana bridge woes: Years of delays culminate in collapse, locals bear brunt | WATCH

The bridge, spanning nearly one kilometer across the Manair River, was inaugurated back in 2016 by then Telangana assembly Speaker S Madhusudhana Chary and local MLA Putta Madhu.

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Satyam Singh
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In Telangana's Peddapalli district, a section of an under-construction bridge collapsed on Monday night, sending shockwaves through the community. The collapse, attributed to strong winds, occurred around 9:45 PM, causing two concrete girders to give way. Concerns linger among locals, fearing that the remaining three girders may succumb to similar fate soon.

Close call

Miraculously, a bus carrying a marriage party of 65 individuals had passed under the bridge merely a minute before the collapse. "Luckily, a marriage party of 65 people on a bus passed by just one minute earlier and escaped being crushed by the concrete," recounted Sirikonda Bakka Rao, former sarpanch of Odedu village, situated a mere 600 meters away.

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Long-awaited completion

The bridge, spanning nearly one kilometer across the Manair River, was inaugurated back in 2016 by then Telangana assembly Speaker S Madhusudhana Chary and local MLA Putta Madhu. With an allocated budget of approximately ₹49 crore, the project aimed to significantly reduce travel distances between the towns of Manthani, Parakal, and Jammikunta by about 50 kilometers.

Delays and disruptions

Originally slated for completion within a year, the project encountered numerous setbacks. Locals attribute the delays to a combination of factors, including financial disputes and halted construction. "The contractor had reportedly stopped the work within a year or two as he was under pressure for commissions and the government was not paying out his dues," lamented residents.

The contractor responsible for the ill-fated bridge had previously constructed another bridge in Vemulawada, which was washed away during heavy rainfall in 2021. This track record raises questions about the selection and oversight of contractors for critical infrastructure projects.

Community resilience

Despite the setbacks, the resilience of the local community shines through. Villagers have been utilizing the same route, improvising with a makeshift mud road under the bridge, for the past five years. However, escalating project costs and incomplete work have fueled frustrations among residents. "The cost of the project was escalated, and last year another ₹11 crores was added to the estimated cost without even 60 percent of the work being completed," voiced Sandeep Rao, a concerned local.