Oreva Group has deposited 50 per cent of the interim compensation amount for the victims of the Morbi bridge collapse tragedy, the Gujarat High Court was told on Monday.
The company informed the division bench of acting Chief Justice A J Desai and Justice Biren Vaishnav that the first instalment (50 per cent of the total amount) was deposited on March 14, and the remaining balance would be paid on or before April 11. The Oreva Group (Ajanta Manufacturing Pvt. Ltd.) was in charge of the operation and maintenance of the British-era bridge on the Machchhu river in Morbi, which collapsed on October 30, 2022, killing 135 people and seriously injuring 56 others.
The high court is hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the tragedy suo motu (on its own). On Monday, the HC accepted Oreva Group’s affidavit and granted the company the time it sought to deposit the remaining amount.
The matter was continued for further hearing on April 18 by the bench. During a previous hearing, the HC ordered the company, whose Managing Director Jaysukh Patel was named the main accused in the bridge collapse case and is currently in judicial custody, to double the amount of interim compensation it had proposed to pay to the kin of the deceased and injured.
As interim compensation, the company proposed paying Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each of the 135 deceased and Rs 1 lakh to the injured. However, citing Supreme Court decisions, the HC on February 22 ordered the company to double the amount to Rs 10 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively. The high court also stated that half of the amount deposited by Oreva Group be made immediately available to claimants in their bank accounts, while the remaining amount is invested in a cumulative Fixed Deposit in a nationalised bank and made available for distribution for five years in accordance with the final decision of this court.
It had ordered the company to deposit Rs 5 lakh for each of the deceased’s kin and Rs 1 lakh for each of the injured within four weeks, with the additional amount to be paid after another four weeks.
Each deceased person received Rs 8 lakh in compensation from the state government and Rs 2 lakh from the central government, while each injured person received Rs 2 lakh.
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