Friday, December 2, 2022

Guj bridge collapse: Oppn demands probe

The Congress on Monday demanded a judicial inquiry into the Morbi suspension bridge collapse in Gujarat, alleging that prima facie it seems to be a case of “criminal negligence” and “gross misgovernance”.
The Opposition party also sought financial and medical assistance from the government to all those affected. The more than a century-old bridge on the Machchhu river, which had reopened five days back after extensive repairs and renovation, was crammed with people when it collapsed on Sunday evening.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge paid homage to those killed in the tragedy, and said that may God give the strength to the families who have lost their loved ones to bear the loss.
Speaking with reporters here, he said the reasons for the collapse of the bridge that reopened five days ago, ought to be known. “Why were so many people allowed. There should be an inquiry headed by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge,” Kharge said. The bereaved families and those affected should be provided all assistance and given compensation by the government, he said. Those injured should be provided all assistance in medical treatment by the government, the Congress president said.
Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPl), Binoy Viswam, questioned the negligence of the Gujarat government.
“Cable bridge collapse in Gujarat points to the gross negligence of the BJP govt. Its repair was said to be done five days back. Where from the contractors got this courage? The compensation needs to be increased. Reliable enquiry should take place to unveil political involvement,” the CPI leader said.
Senior TMC legislator Tapas Roy said the mishap was an example of how hollow the tall claims of the BJP and the Gujarat government were about the structural engineering, quality of bridges and superb infrastructural development.

12 relatives of BJP MP Kundariya killed
Lok Sabha member from Rajkot Mohan Kundariya on Monday said 12 of his relatives were among those killed in the suspension bridge collapse in Gujarat’s Morbi town.
They had gone to visit the picnic spot on Sunday when the tragedy took place, the BJP MP told PTI.
Kundariya said the 12 victims of his family included five children, four women and three men, all close relatives of his elder brother. Strict action will be taken against those responsible for the tragedy, he said. “Four daughters of the brother-in-law of my elder brother, the husbands of three of them and five children were killed in the accident,” Kundariya said. They belonged to different villages in Tankara taluka and were settled in Morbi, he said.
Modi to visit tragedy-struck Morbi today
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the tragedy-struck Morbi in Gujarat on Tuesday to take stock of the mishap that has so far killed 134 people, and counting.
A Gujarat CMO statement said PM Modi will visit Morbi on the afternoon of November 1.

Bridge repair in Guj given to watch maker
Oreva, the Gujarat-based watchmaker that renovated the bridge, was given the contract by the Morbi city municipal body in March and no tender route was taken, the contract document shows. Some of the old wires holding the bridge together remained even after the renovation.
Gujarat’s forensics laboratory has also found that the bridge collapsed under the weight of the huge rush of people, sources have said. The forensics team pulled out metal samples of the bridge with heavy cutting tools for analysis.
The swelling crowds put stress on the structural integrity of the bridge, leading to the tragedy, sources in the forensics team said.
Footage from just before the collapse showed a group of people taking photos while others tried to sway the bridge before they tumbled into the river as the metal cables gave way.
The municipal body’s chief Sandeepsinh Zala said Oreva did not inform the authorities about reopening the bridge and the company had not been issued a fitness certificate to do so. Oreva hasn’t responded to this allegation.
The watchmaker reportedly outsourced the “technical aspect of the renovation” to a smaller construction company, Devprakash Solutions.
While opening the bridge last week, Oreva Managing Director Jaysukhbhai Patel had said that the company had done “100 per cent renovation in ₹ 2 crore”.
Nine people have been arrested after the police filed a First Information Report, or FIR, over the tragedy. Among them are managers of Oreva, ticket collectors, bridge repair contractors and three security guards whose job was to control the crowds.
The search operation in the River Machhu has been called off for the day, officials said, adding they will resume it tomorrow morning. Nearly a hundred bodies are feared trapped in the muddy water, they said.
Many people who were nearer to both ends of the bridge died as there is no water below, only hard ground. Those who were in the middle of the bridge fell into the river and drowned.

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