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  • Deccan Chronicle

Bridge collapse at night; illegal sand mining and construction flaws suspected

ADILABAD: Rampant, illegal sand mining is alleged to have resulted in the collapse of a closed bridge near Andavelli in Kagaznagar mandal of Komaram Bheem Asifabad district in the wee hours on Wednesday morning.

The bridge was constructed on Peddavagu river 20 years ago, connecting the three mandals. The bridge has 10 pillars and 11 slabs. Slabs 9, 10, and 11 collapsed with the 8th pillar sunk. Construction defects are also suspected.

Villagers of Andavelli heard a big sound around midnight. “The bridge collapsed when nobody was around, either on it, or around.

The buildings department had closed the bridge last month by erecting blocks at both ends as its safety was suspect. Villagers on both sides have been having alternative transportation via country boats made of thermocol sheets to cross the river.

Activists say the bridge collapsed due to the rampant illegal sand mining from rivulets, streams, and rivers.

A country boat carrying students and villagers overturned while crossing the Peddavagu river on September 22. All of them were saved by the boat's men.

Road connectivity has been badly affected to nearly 40 villages of Bheemini, Dahegoam and Kagazangar mandals following the collapse of the bridge. A pillar had sunk last year. According to sources, a tender had been called a few days ago for the repairs at a cost of Rs 2.90 lakh.

Local MLA Koneru Konappa, Zilla Parishad vice-chairman Koneru Krishna and market committee chairman Kasam Srinivas inspected the collapsed bridge.

Illegal sand mining is rampant along River Penganga in the Adilabad district and Godavari in Mancherial district. Contractors who took sand reaches are digging the sand against the permitted depth at the identified sand reaches in the Godavari, activists said and called on the authorities to take action to curb illegal sand mining under the bridges and near pillars.

Villagers of Bheemini and Dahegoam are suffering a lot due to the closure of the road 40 days ago, followed by the bridge collapse now. Pregnant women and students are suffering a lot as they have to take the Penchikalpet route to reach the Kagazanagar town for medical treatment and other errands. Country boats are operational.

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