Morbi tragedy: Oreva Group MD ordered to pay Rs. 10L
Gujarat High Court on Wednesday ordered the Oreva Group's managing director Jaysukhbhai Patel to pay Rs. 10 lakh as compensation to each family of the 135 victims who lost their lives in the Morbi suspension bridge collapse last year. The court also directed him to pay Rs. 2 lakh to the 56 people who sustained injuries in the incident.
Why does this story matter?
- The bridge, owned by the Morbi municipality and maintained by Oreva Group—a wall clock and e-bike manufacturer—collapsed four days after it was reopened in October of last year.
- The Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Gujarat government submitted its report to the high court recently, which stated that administrative and technical lapses with no corrective measures were responsible for the tragedy.
Patel earlier offered to pay half the amount
The court granted him two weeks to disburse half of the amount and 15 days thereafter to pay the remaining sum. Through his lawyer, Nirupam Nanavaty, Patel on Tuesday offered to pay Rs. 5 lakh to the deceased's kin and Rs. 1 lakh to those injured. However, the division bench of Chief Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice Sandeep Bhatt was unsatisfied with the offer.
State-private player ratio for interim relief 45:55: SC
The bench said that the ratio between the state and the private player for interim relief should be 45% and 55%. It cited several judgments given by the Supreme Court, including those related to the Bhopal gas leak and Uphaar cinema fire tragedies. The state government has already given Rs. 10 lakh each to the families of the victims, the bench said.
Patel offered a total of Rs. 5 crore as compensation
Patel offered a total of Rs. 5 crore as compensation, which amounted to Rs. 3.5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 to the injured ones. Nanavaty stated that since Patel's arrest, the women directors have been managing the company and may have difficulty arranging funds. Patel is in judicial custody. He surrendered last month after absconding for months.
Gross lapses on part of Oreva Group: SIT report
The SIT report said that the Morbi municipality's maintenance agreement with Oreva Group was signed without approval from the civic body's general board. The company, with no experience in the construction business, got the contract in March 2022 for a period of 15 years. It outsourced the bridge's repair work to an incompetent agency that didn't even test its main cable and vertical suspenders.