The Morbi tragedy SIT (Special Investigation Team) report, tabled Sunday, has pinned the blame on glaring lapses by the Oreva Group and the Morbi Municipality. The Morbi bridge collapse on October 30 last year, left more than 135 dead and several hundred others injured. More than 400 people were believed to be on and around the footbridge when it collapsed.
The SIT, appointed by the Gujarat government a day later to probe the tragedy, comprised a five-member committee of bureaucrats and police officers.
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The report throws light on complete disregard by the Morbi Municipality where it came to seeking approval by its General Board before entering into any agreement for maintenance work or renewal of the contract with Oreva Group. Significantly, the issue of consent was not raised in the General Board meeting held after the agreement either.
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“Without stating in so many words, the report indicts the Morbi Municipal Commissioner. He worked without prior approval from the General Board,” shared a top official in the civic body while speaking to Vibes Of India.
Among other revelations, the report also concludes that “repair work was carried out without consulting a competent technical expert.” Reportedly, the main cable and vertical suspenders were not inspected before initiating “restoration.”
The old vertical suspender, already in disarray, was welded alongwith a new one. Investigation reveals that 22 of the 49 cables were already dysfunctional when Oreva undertook a renewal of the maintenance contract. “The remaining 27 cables were the ones that snapped in the tragedy,” added the senior functionary.
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Earlier this month, the Gujarat government demanded the Morbi municipality to reply to a show-cause notice as to why it should not be dissolved for failing to discharge its duties in proper inspection of the suspension bridge before throwing it open to public.
A charge sheet was filed in the Morbi suspension bridge collapse case on January 27, 2022, by Deputy Superintendent of Police P. S. Zala. The 1,262-page chargesheet accuses 10, including Oreva Group MD Jaysukh Patel. The charge-sheet also contains the statement of civil hospital doctors and of all those doctors at private hospitals who treated the injured.
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The century-old suspension bridge over the Machchhu River in Morbi town lies at a distance of 230 m from Gandhinagar. It was re-opened on October 26 after being closed for about seven months for “extensive repairs and renovation.”
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