Punjab health minister Dr Balbir Singh

Patiala: Two days after a partial bridge collapse near Rohata Sahib in Nabha jurisdiction of this district, Punjab health minister Dr Balbir Singh on Sunday reached the spot and promised the villagers an inquiry.

The villagers described him the incident and how they feared losing lives in a possible total collapse. They claimed that the bridge was made of inferior material, while its lintel that collapsed had cost the government Rs 1.75 crore to lay.The 30-metre-long structure was to be built in three sections. Two sections were ready when one crumbled. The contractor submitted a written guarantee of repairing any damage, but the villagers insist on total demolition and reconstruction.

A lawyer, Harbhagwan Datt, said: “Day ago, Nabha’s subdivisional magistrate (SDM) had assured the public that the bridge will not be opened until repaired, but the contractor demolished a portion overnight, leading to suspicion. On Sunday, the minister promised to build a bridge to last at least 50 years, while acknowledging that the lintel collapse was not ordinary but a serious accident that could have been fatal had the bridge been opened to traffic.”

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