A 60-foot-long, 500-tonne iron bridge at a village in Rohtas district of Bihar has been stolen by thieves who posed as government officials. The Water Resources Department on April 8 lodged an FIR against unknown people.
The local villagers, who noticed the bridge over the Ara-Sone canal missing on April 5, said it was built around 45 years ago.
“Even three days ago, the structure of the bridge was there but suddenly it disappeared and we informed local officials,” said Suresh Kumar of Amiyawar village in Rohtas district. The village is 40 km away from the district headquarters of Sasaram – a place famous for the tomb of Suri Empire founder Sher Shah Suri.
Local officials of the Water Resources Department visited the site where the theft took place and filed an FIR against unknown people at the local Nasriganj police station.
“An inquiry has been ordered and we are investigating how and when the bridge was stolen,” said Nasriganj police station in-charge Subhash Kumar.
The villagers said that over several days the thieves chipped off parts of the iron bridge by posing as State Irrigation Department officials engaged in dismantling work of the bridge as it had become old and decrepit. A parallel new concrete bridge was laid nearby over the rivulet.
The bridge heist was possibly carried out by scrap iron smugglers and since they used heavy machinery tools such as earth movers and gas cutters, the villagers might not have doubted their credentials, a local journalist, Ajit Kumar, told The Hindu over phone.
It took three days for the thieves to remove the bridge from its construction site, he added. “Only later did the villagers realise the theft and informed the local department officials, who themselves were surprised,” he added.
Earlier, in August 2021, seized illegal sand worth ₹200 crore was stolen from different police stations in the district where it was dumped and the State Mines Department officials had lodged three FIRs in this regard but nothing happened. Similarly, seized stone chips too were stolen from a police station in the district but the unidentified thieves are said to be still at large.