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The century-old cable suspension bridge, which had reopened five days ago after extensive repairs and renovation for seven months, collapsed into the river, sending hundreds plunging in the water. The incident took place at 6.30 pm on Sunday.
#WATCH | PM Modi gets emotional as he talks about #MorbiBridgeCollapse tragedy, in Gujarat’s Banaskantha https://t.co/cxXESlkePN
— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) 1667212731000
Nine arrested; FIR against maintenance agencies
The police have arrested nine people in connection with the bridge collapse incident.
Earlier, it registered an FIR on charges of culpable homicide against agencies given the task of maintenance and operation of the bridge.
City-based clocks and e-bike maker Oreva Group was given the contract for the renovation and operation of the bridge. Morbi Superintendent of Police (SP) Rahul Tripathi said some people have been called for preliminary questioning after the registration of the FIR on Sunday
After completion of the maintenance, the agency opened the bridge for the public on October 26, the FIR said, adding that it collapsed at around 6.30 pm on October 30, killing several people as they fell into the river.
As per the FIR, the incident took place because of the “callous approach” of the agency people. The FIR further stated that persons concerned or agencies did not pay attention to the quality of maintenance as well as repair work of the bridge.
PM Modi chairs high-level meeting
The Prime Minister chaired a high-level meeting to review the situation in Morbi at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar.
PM Modi was briefed about the rescue and relief operations that have been underway since Sunday evening.
All aspects relating to the tragedy were discussed at the meeting. PM Modi once again emphasised on ensuring that those affected get all possible assistance.
I am in Kevadia but my heart goes out to victims: PM Modi
Earlier, PM Modi had condoled the deaths in the bridge collapse incident and said that there would be no laxity in rescue and relief efforts.
The Prime Minister, who is set to visit Morbi on Tuesday, was addressing a gathering on the occasion of the 147th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat’s Ekta Nagar in Kevadia.
“I express my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the accident. In this hour of grief, the government is with the bereaved families in every manner. The Gujarat Government has been carrying out relief and rescue operations since yesterday. Centre too is extending all help to the State Government,” PM Modi said.
“I am in Ekta Nagar but my mind is with the victims of Morbi. Rarely in my life, would I have experienced such pain. On one hand, there is a pain-riddled heart and on the other hand, there is the path to duty,” the prime minister said.
#MorbiTragedy | I am in Ekta Nagar but my mind is with the victims of Morbi. Rarely in my life, would I have experi… https://t.co/b4cbw0uBp8
— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) 1667189491000
Collapsed Morbi suspension bridge lacked ‘fitness’ certificate
Despite months of repair work, the suspension bridge had not received the municipality’s ‘fitness certificate’.
“The bridge was given to Oreva company for operation and maintenance for 15 years. In March this year, it was closed for the public for renovation. It reopened after renovation on the Gujarati New Year day celebrated on October 26,” Morbi Municipality’s chief officer Sandeepsinh Zala said.
As per its description on the district collectorate website, the ‘engineering marvel’ built at the turn of the 19th century was said to reflect ‘the progressive and scientific nature of the rulers of Morbi.’ Sir Waghji Thakor, who ruled Morbi till 1922, was inspired by the colonial influence and decided to construct the bridge, an “artistic and technological marvel” of that period, to connect Darbargadh Palace with Nazarbag Palace (the residences of the then royalty).
The bridge was 1.25 metres wide and spanned 233 metres, and was meant to give a unique identity to Morbi using the latest technology available in those days in Europe, as per the collectorate website.
Firm claimed it had spent Rs 2 crore on renovation
Morbi-based Oreva group was given a contract by the Morbi Municipality to repair and operate the ill-fated hanging bridge for 15 years and charge tickets in the range of Rs 10 to Rs 15 for its use, as per documents of the municipality assessed on Monday.
The firm had claimed on October 26 that it had roped in experts for the repair work, adding that the material used was built as per specifications by “specialised firms”.
After the completion of the renovation, the hanging bridge, originally built in 1887 by the erstwhile Morbi ruler Vaghji Thakor, was thrown open for the public on October 26 by Oreva Group’s Jaysukh Patel and his family in the presence of the media.
Some youths shook suspension bridge
In a video that has gone viral on social media, some youngsters can be seen kicking the ropes of the bridge and shaking it to scare other tourists and making it difficult for people to walk.
A visitor Vijay Goswami recalled the incident and said, “There was a huge crowd on the bridge. My family and I were on the bridge when some youths started shaking it intentionally. It was impossible for people to stand without holding any support. Since I had a feeling that it may prove dangerous, my family and I came back after covering some distance on the bridge.”
CCTV: Morbi bridge collapse caught on camera
Gujarat forms high-power probe committee
The Gujarat government on Monday announced that a high-powered committee has been set up to investigate the incident of the collapse.
Teams including Army, Navy, Air Force, NDRF and Fire Brigade conducted a search operation throughout the night and morning to find the victims who fell into the Macchu river after the bridge collapsed, as per officials.
Indian Army teams carried out search and rescue operations for survivors of the mishap. All three defence services have deployed their teams for search operations. Three Indian Coast Guard teams consisting of divers, equipment, boats and other material have been deployed on-site at Morbi since last night, said Defence Ministry officials.
PHOTOS: Morbi suspension bridge collapse death toll mounts to 132
12 members of BJP MP’s family dead in Morbi bridge collapse
Twelve family members of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Rajkot Mohanbhai Kundariya died in the suspension bridge collapse incident.
Among the dead, there are five children.
Kundariya himself visited the spot in Morbi after the mishap and took stock of the rescue operation.
Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel meets injured persons at Morbi Civil Hospital
Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel met with the injured persons at Morbi Civil Hospital after they were injured in the collapse of the cable bridge.
Expressing condolences to families of those who lost their lives, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel announced Rs 4 lakh to the family of each deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured.
President, PM express grief over deaths in Gujarat bridge collapse
Expressing sadness, Modi, in a tweet said he has spoken to Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and officials. “Relief and rescue operations are going on in full swing and all necessary assistance is being provided,” the prime minister said.
His office announced ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the families of each of those who died in the incident and Rs 50,000 to the injured.
PM @narendramodi has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from PMNRF for the next of kin of each of those who lost… https://t.co/Ab6yegLddG
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) 1667139878000
President Murmu, in a tweet, said, “The tragedy in Morbi, Gujarat has left me worried. My thoughts and prayers are with the affected people. Relief and rescue efforts will bring succour to the victims.”
The tragedy in Morbi, Gujarat has left me worried. My thoughts and prayers are with the affected people. Relief and… https://t.co/5WuXjdrH88
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) 1667142154000
Union home minister Amit Shah expressed sadness at the incident in Morbi. In a tweet, he said that he has spoken to the home minister of Gujarat, Harsh Sanghvi, and other officials in this matter.
मोरबी में हुए हादसे से अत्यंत दुखी हूँ। इस विषय में मैंने गुजरात के गृह राज्य मंत्री हर्ष संघवी व अन्य अधिकारियों… https://t.co/N4UEXF1yaj
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1667140497000
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party is making an all-out effort to dislodge BJP from power in the poll-bound state, tweeted, “Very sad news coming from Gujarat. Many people are reported to have fallen into the river after a bridge collapsed in Morbi. I pray to god for everybody’s life and well-being.”
गुजरात से बेहद दुःखद खबर मिल रही है। मोरबी में ब्रिज टूट जाने से कई लोगों के नदी में गिर जाने की खबर है। भगवान से उ… https://t.co/87EwkT7FvZ
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) 1667138753000
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other leaders and workers of the party taking part in the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ here observed a two-minute silence in memory of those killed in the Morbi suspension bridge tragedy in Gujarat.
Bharat Yatris paid floral tributes to Sardar Patel & Indira Gandhi and observed 2 minute silence to pay respect tho… https://t.co/Lr6cD4FMFQ
— Congress (@INCIndia) 1667179800000
PM Modi cancels road show, page committee sammelan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in his home state of Gujarat on a three-day visit, has decided to cancel his roadshow to be held in Ahmedabad on Monday in the wake of the bridge collapse incident.
BJP Gujarat media convenor Dr Yagnesh Dave said that there shall be no programs of celebration to be held in the wake of the Morbi tragedy where many are feared dead, including women, children, and the elderly. However the official programmes including PM to lay foundation stone of C-295 Aircraft facility and the programme to dedicate Railway projects worth 2900cr will be as per schedule.
#WATCH | #GujaratDrones being used to help in the search and rescue operation in Morbi, following the incident of… https://t.co/xOaAOkqJ1l
— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) 1667187936000
Congress chief Kharge seeks probe by retired SC or HC judge
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday demanded an inquiry into the mishap. “I offer my condolences. An inquiry headed by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge should be done as to how the bridge collapsed after five to six days after it was inaugurated and who allowed so many people there. All necessary help including compensation should be provided to victims,” said Kharge.
Kharge who took charge of the Congress Party last week said that leaders from his party will be reaching Morbi and will offer their assistance.
With elections in the state expected in the coming months, opposition parties demanded an investigation into the collapse, saying that the bridge was reopened without getting safety clearance from the city’s civic body.
Third Asian tragedy in a month
The bridge collapse is Asia’s third major disaster involving large crowds in a month.
On Saturday, a Halloween crowd surge killed more than 150 mostly young people who attended festivities in Itaewon, a neighborhood in Seoul, South Korea.
On Oct. 1, police in Indonesia fired tear gas at a soccer match, causing a crush that killed 132 people as spectators attempted to flee.
(With inputs from agencies)