Manali: A bridge that was being built in Solang village of Manali, Himachal Pradesh collapsed here today. The bridge was being built on Solang stream, a tributary of Beas river. Foundation of the bridge was laid seven years ago by the Congress government.
There were no casualties though the laborers who were removing the shuttering of the bridge had a narrow escape. Now after the collapse of the bridge, questions are being asked about functioning of the administration and the Public Works Department.
Construction of the bridge was going on for the last seven years, but was proceeding at a slow pace and even a penalty had been imposed on the contractor for slow work.
Solang villagers would risk their lives to pass through a temporary culvert here to cross the river. In August 2022, the temporary culvert built along the bridge was washed away and two teenagers passing through the culvert were swept away.
The villagers were an agitated lot and had held protests. Though a road is being constructed to the village but without the bridge, the road is without any connectivity.
So far, an amount of about Rs 2.91 crore had been spent on the construction of the incomplete bridge that collapsed today. The Manali administration has not issued any statement about the bridge collapsing. SDM Manali visited the site earlier in the day.
Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice.
He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express.
With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology.
Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.