The recent collapse of the Kuri-Gongri bridge, just months after another devastating incident, has once again brought to the forefront the urgent need for addressing the critical issue of bridge safety in our country. As concerned citizens, we cannot turn a blind eye to the glaring shortcomings in our infrastructure that have led to these disasters. It is time for swift and decisive action to prevent further loss of life and economic disruptions. The government, in collaboration with industry experts and stakeholders, must prioritise comprehensive solutions to bridge the gap between bridge capacity and truck carrying capacity.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Dorji Tshering, has rightly identified the mismatch between bridge capacity and the carrying capacity of trucks as a primary cause of these tragic incidents. This points to a fundamental flaw in our planning and construction processes. While we must address this issue, it is imperative to recognise that multiple factors contribute to bridge collapses, including poor maintenance, inadequate inspections, and substandard construction materials. Solving this crisis demands a multi-faceted approach.

The government must make a substantial investment in engineering expertise and innovative technologies. By employing advanced materials and construction techniques, we can ensure that our bridges are built to withstand the demands of modern transportation. Additionally, we need to establish stringent safety regulations and enforcement mechanisms to guarantee compliance at every stage of bridge construction, from design to completion.

Proactive maintenance and regular inspections are crucial for identifying potential vulnerabilities in bridges before they escalate into catastrophes. The government must allocate adequate resources to establish a comprehensive maintenance schedule and deploy trained personnel to conduct thorough inspections. By adopting a preventive approach, we can detect early warning signs and address structural weaknesses promptly, saving lives and resources in the long run.

Addressing the bridge safety crisis requires collaboration among multiple stakeholders. Government agencies, engineering firms, construction companies, and transport associations must work together to develop and implement comprehensive safety protocols. Establishing clear lines of accountability is essential to ensure that all parties involved adhere to rigorous standards and are held responsible for any negligence or non-compliance.

In addition to governmental efforts, public awareness and education campaigns can play a vital role in preventing bridge collapses. By educating truck drivers, transport companies, and the general public about the importance of adhering to weight limits, practicing safe driving habits, and reporting any signs of bridge deterioration, we can foster a culture of responsibility and vigilance. Encouraging citizens to report potential safety hazards will help authorities take timely action.

The bridge collapses in our country are not merely isolated incidents; they are symptomatic of a deeper issue that demands our immediate attention. We cannot afford to wait for more lives to be lost or our economy to suffer further setbacks. We urge our government to take decisive action now, ensuring that no more lives are lost due to the negligence of our bridges. The time for change is now.