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NEW DELHI : Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said he was amazed at the response of an IAS officer who attributed the collapse of a portion of an under-construction road bridge in Sultanganj to 'strong winds'.

A section of an under-construction road bridge over the Ganga at Sultanganj in Bihar collapsed during a thunderstorm on April 29. There were no reports of any casualty in the incident.

"A bridge fell in Bihar on April 29. I asked my secretary about the reasons. He (secretary) said it was on account of strong winds (hawa aur dhundh)," Gadkari said at an event here.

The road transport and highways minister said he wondered how can an IAS officer believe such an explanation.

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"Mere to baat samajh me nahi aa rahi hai ki hawa dhundh se kaise bridge girega? Kuch naa kuch galati hogi (I cannot understand how can a bridge collapse due to strong winds. There must be some error (which led to collapse of the bridge)," Gadkari, who is known for his frank views, added.

The minister also emphasised on the need to reduce the cost of construction of bridges, without compromising on quality.

Sultanganj MLA Lalit Narayan Mandal had earlier said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered an investigation into the bridge collapse.

"The possibility of using sub-standard materials in the construction of the bridge cannot be ruled out ... It is a matter of investigation that the under construction bridge being built at a cost of 1,710 crore could not withstand strong gusty winds," he had said.

The construction of the bridge between Sultanganj and Aguani Ghat in Bihar had started in 2014. It was due to be completed in 2019 but work on it is still on.

The 3,116-metre-long bridge on completion was slated to have the country's longest extradosed spans and a high-level observatory which would offer the users a unique view of the river.

An extradosed bridge is a hybrid structure between the classic cable-stayed and cantilever-girder types. 

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