In Bihar, India, a dream project envisioned as a beacon of infrastructural development and progress now lies beneath the waters of the Ganges, collapsed even before its inauguration. The Aguwani Sultanganj Bridge, the brainchild of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, is now submerged, symbolising a severe malfunction of governance and a shocking manifestation of systemic corruption in Bihar’s government. Yet, at the epicentre of this unfortunate incident is not just the political administration, but a man named SP Singla, the owner of Singla Constructions, the primary contractor for the project.
Dream Project of Nitish Kumar
Conceptualised in 2014, the Aguwani Sultanganj Bridge was touted as an infrastructure marvel that would revolutionise transportation and communication in Bihar. This four-lane bridge, with an investment exceeding Rs. 1700 crores—more than double the entire cost of constructing the New Parliament complex in Delhi—was projected to bring a new dawn for the state. Instead, it descended into an unforeseen dusk, representing a governance failure and exposing an unmistakable display of corruption.
The bridge’s collapse has incurred significant financial losses, but it’s the human cost that is gravely concerning. In the wake of this disaster, Vibhash Yadav, a guard stationed at the construction site under Singla Constructions, disappeared. His family was hurled into emotional turbulence, highlighting the real human toll of this tragic incident. Despite the gravity of the situation, the voices of concern and questioning for Yadav and countless others impacted by the tragedy are dishearteningly silent.
The reality of SP Singla and Singla Constructions
Turning our attention to SP Singla and Singla Constructions, it becomes evident that this event was not an isolated incident but part of an alarming pattern. Singla Constructions Pvt Ltd, headquartered in Panchkula, Haryana, is a company specialising in bridge construction. Despite the prestigious projects they have undertaken, they are now under scrutiny for their role in the Aguwani Sultanganj Bridge collapse.
Regrettably, this isn’t the first occurrence of a bridge collapse linked to SP Singla Constructions. This company has a worrisome history of failure and allegations of corruption, raising questions about the effectiveness of the systems supposed to hold such firms accountable.
Singla Constructions was also part of the Goregaon-Mulund Link Road (GMLR) project in the Greater Mumbai area. The fact that the firm continues to secure contracts despite its problematic track record is perplexing. Even more confounding is the fact that SP Singla Constructions was honoured with the National Highways Excellence Award in 2019 and 2020. The dichotomy between the accolades received and the catastrophic results delivered by the company casts a shadow over the award-granting criteria and the role of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in this matter.
The irony of SP Singla, the man at the helm of Singla Constructions, is that he was seen as a “mastermind” in the field. However, he has proven to be a mastermind of a different sort—a mastermind of failures. His company’s track record is dotted with incidents that signal not only an inability to execute but also a possible disregard for safety and structural integrity.
The Bhagalpur Bridge collapse serves as a stern reminder of the dire need for transparency, accountability, and effective governance in infrastructure development. The story of SP Singla and his company should be a lesson for all—the cost of failure isn’t just monetary; it impacts lives and shakes the faith of the public in the institutions that govern them. As we navigate the rubble of this disaster, it’s crucial to remember that development should never come at the cost of lives and that those responsible for such catastrophic failures should be held accountable.
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