Almost a week after the Morbi bridge collapse that killed around 140 people, glaring loopholes on the part of the company – Oreva Group – that was given the contract to refurbish the bridge, have come to light.
Oreva, better known for manufacturing wall clocks, was given a contract of Rs 2 crore to refurbish the 145-year-old bridge. The police investigation has revealed that the company spent a measly Rs 12 lakh for the job. That’s just 6% of the total amount (Rs 2 crore) mandated for the bridge. The contract awarded to Oreva was for 15 years, which included maintenance of the bridge and the security for the same.
The police probe is in line with the Forensic Sciences Laboratory (FSL) findings that no major strengthening work was undertaken by the contractor to refurbish the bridge.
Investigation has revealed that the bridge’s renovation was sub-contracted to a Dhrangadhra-based company, Devprakash Solutions, which has no experience or expertise to carry out such work.
A police officer who is part of the probe panel said that the sub-contractor has merely applied “some painting, greasing and conducted other superficial works”. “Some rust-free paint was applied at the corroded places. The aluminium sheets that replaced the footings at some places were of inferior quality,” the officer said.
The police sources further said that Oreva did not give a break-up of how the Rs 2 crore allotted to the bridge renovation were spent, nor did the company possess a fitness certificate of the structure to reopen it. “The only fitness test of the structure was a stroll that Oreva owner Jaysukh Patel and his family members took on the bridge while reopening it on October 26,” another officer sarcastically said.