If the investigation of the collapse of the highway bridge near the villages of Kurimany and Iliašovce shows that the Transport Ministry could have prevented the accident, but failed to perform its duties, minister Ján Počiatek will take the responsibility. He said so during the political talk show Sobotné dialógy broadcast by the Slovak Radio (SRo).
Počiatek admitted that since the responsibility for the accident rests on the shoulders of the contractors, he cannot rule out the possibility that the supervisory team might have failed to carry out its work properly. The supervision was conducted by representatives of the state-run National Highway Company (NDS), which comes under the direct remit of the Transport Ministry.
Former transport minister Ján Figeľ said that he would have stepped down in this situation if he were still in charge. He added that the incumbent minister should evaluate the situation and ask himself whether he did everything he could to prevent the collapse, the TASR newswire wrote.
Počiatek responded that the responsibility lies on Figeľ’s shoulders, as the low price of the winning bid that Figeľ approved might be behind the accident.
The two politicians also reiterated their claims concerning the type of support system used on the section. Figeľ maintained that instead of the movable support frame agreed upon in the contract when he was in office, a fixed support system was employed instead. Yet, Počiatek claimed that it was the fixed support that was supposed to be used according to the contract.
The bridge under construction collapsed on November 2, claiming the lives of four people and leaving 12 others injured. The police have launched an investigation, which might, according to the latest information brought by the Sme daily, last until next spring.
Source: TASR, Sme
For more information about this story please see: Bridge collapse prompts political blame game
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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