Gujarat bridge collapse: Chief officer of Morbi municipality suspended
The chief officer (CO) of Morbi municipality, Sandeepsinh Zala, was suspended by the Gujarat government on Friday, informed district collector GT Pandya. The move came after the tragic collapse of the century-old cable suspension bridge in the Morbi district that claimed the lives of at least 135 people. Zala had earlier admitted that the bridge was reopened without an actual fitness certificate.
Why does this story matter?
- The cable suspension bridge over the Machchhu River in Morbi collapsed on Sunday evening when 400 people were standing on it.
- Notably, the bridge was reopened five days before the collapse after being closed for six months for renovation.
- The bridge owned by the Morbi municipality was contracted to the Oreva Group, a clock and e-bike manufacturer, for 15-year maintenance and operation.
Yet to receive official communication, says commissioner
Zala was grilled by the police after the bridge collapse, reported The Indian Express. Investigators revealed that the contractors hired by Oreva Group didn't conduct a "scientific assessment of structural stability" of the bridge. Earlier, Zala had said that the bridge was a property of the municipality. However, they handed it over to the Group for maintenance, and operations for the next 15 years.
Contractor technically unqualified
The Morbi municipality chief also blamed the company for reopening the bridge without informing the municipality and without any fitness certificate. So far, the police found that the renovation work was undertaken without any structural stability assessment, and the contractor hired by Oreva Group to accomplish the repairs was technically unqualified.
No trace of Oreva Group's managing director
As per reports, Oreva hired a little-known contractor to complete the work. Locals told NDTV that the company's managing director Jaysukhbhai Patel had not been seen since the tragedy, despite publicly stating that the renovated bridge would last for at least eight years. On October 26, Patel was last seen during the bridge's reopening. Notably, he had penned a contract with the municipal corporation.