Morbi Tragedy: Shouldn't have opened bridge, says civic body
Morbi Municipal Corporation has said that the suspension bridge that collapsed in the town last month, was irresponsibility on their part, reports NDTV. The civic body in an affidavit before the court, as it has taken suo moto cognizance of the matter, stated that the bridge "should not have been opened." The bridge collapsed on October 30, killing 130 people besides injuring many others.
Why does this story matter?
The bridge, owned by the Morbi municipality and being maintained by Oreva Group, a wall clock and e-bike manufacturer, has raised questions. The bridge was supposed to remain closed for maintenance but was prematurely opened on Gujrati new year without following the proper procedure. After weeks of passing the buck to the private company, the civic body has taken the responsibility for the tragedy.
What does the civic body say in the affidavit submitted
In the affidavit submitted before the Gujarat High Court's justices Aravind Kumar and Ashutosh J Shastri, the civic body said that the minimum time for renovation was set at eight to 12 months. The March 8, 2022 agreement with the civic body, as per the affidavit, was signed by the company to "appropriately renovate" the bridge before leaving it open to the public.
The high court raps the civil body over irregularities
Over a delay in filling the affidavit, the court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Morbi civil body. The court said that it seems that no tender was floated while allotting the contract to the company that opened the bridge after just seven months of maintenance in October. The court said, "the municipality, a government body, has defaulted, which ultimately killed 135 people."
The last contract expired in June 2017
The latest contract for maintenance of the colonial-era bridge was signed in March 2022 while the latest agreement expired in June 2017. The high court also raised questions, asking on what basis the company was allowed to maintain the bridge when the contract was not renewed beyond 2017. The recent agreement in March was signed for a period of 15 years.
Several officials were arrested for the tragedy
Meanwhile, a police case has been registered into the major tragedy in Gujarat's Morbi. As part of the investigation, till now nine staffers of the private company have been arrested while top management who signed the Rs. 7 crore contract have not faced any action. Having a bearing capacity of around 125 people, around 500 were on the bridge when it collapsed.
Morbi civic body chief summoned
The next hearing of the case has been fixed for November 24, six days later.The high court has meanwhile summoned the Morbi Municipal Corporation chief, Sandipsinh Zala.Zala signed the contract with the private company in March, this year.Share this timeline