An under-construction bridge at Koolimad in Kozhikode collapsed due to a fault in the hydraulic jack, Public Works Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas told the Assembly on Monday. He said the findings of a scientific study conducted by a team from the National Institute of Technology and the statements of those who had witnessed the incident led to the conclusion. Three beams of the bridge were damaged in the collapse, said the Minister.
The Vigilance wing of the Public Works department (PWD) had submitted a detailed report, which says that the workers and officials deployed by the Uralungal Labour Contractors Cooperative Society (ULCCS) had wide experience and skills. The report also says that the scientific analysis of the samples collected after the collapse attested to the quality of the work.
However, explanations had been sought from the Executive Engineer and the Assistant Engineer for failing to ensure that there was no official to oversee the work when the in-charge official had gone on leave.
The Opposition MLAs alleged that there were double standards in how the government handled the bridge collapse at Koolimad and Palarivattom. Former Public Works Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju was arrested in the latter case.
Roji M. John, MLA, demanded an independent investigation into the bridge collapse at Koolimad. Mr. Riyas said it was wrong to equate the Koolimad bridge collapse with the one in Palarivattom as it was found that less quantity of concrete was used for the latter. The then Public Works Minister had also ensured a 20% mobilisation advance for the contracted company against the PWD manual. There were no such discrepancies in the case of Koolimad bridge, he said.
On the allegations against the ULCCS, Mr. Riyas said the government did not favour any company and all wrong-doers were pulled up. The Oommen Chandy-led UDF government had chosen the ULCCS as an accredited company for government works. Currently, many Opposition MLAs had been requesting the services of the ULCCS for works in their constituency, which was a testimony to the quality of their work, he said.