In court, Morbi Police highlight lapses in bridge maintenance

The police, in their remand application, submit a series of failures by the contractor: rusted cables not replaced,no safety audit of metal bridge, and company not qualified for the renovation of the 140-year-old British-era bridge

November 02, 2022 05:23 pm | Updated November 03, 2022 09:36 am IST - Morbi

A woman on November 2, 2022 walks past a ticket counter of a cable bridge in Gujarat’s Morbi that collapsed on October 30, 2022.

A woman on November 2, 2022 walks past a ticket counter of a cable bridge in Gujarat’s Morbi that collapsed on October 30, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

There were a series of lapses such as no safety audit of the metal bridge, no audit of the structure’s load bearing capacity and the contractor roped in to carry out the repairs and renovations of the 140-year-old British era bridge was not qualified for the job, the Morbi Police told a local court seeking custody of the nine accused, who were arrested on October 31.

The police, in their remand application, also submitted that many of the cables of the bridge were rusty and yet not replaced while the material used for the renovation was substandard, leaving the bridge vulnerable when it was hurriedly reopened without the civic body’s approval.

The prosecution contended that the horrific incident in which 140 people were killed would not have happened had the cables been replaced and adequate safety measures taken.

Also read: A Morbi-scale disaster is completely avoidable

It had also been pointed out that no life-saving equipment were put in place nor any evacuation plan in place when the bridge was reopened amid festive season.

Watch | Morbi bridge collapse, as it happened

Watch | (Trigger warning) Morbi bridge collapse, as it happened

Forensic report

Citing a Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report, the prosecution told the court that forensic experts believed the main cable of the bridge snapped because of the weight of the new flooring.

While the bridge flooring was replaced, its cable was not replaced and it could not take the weight of the changed flooring, the prosecution, citing a forensic report, told the magistrate’s court on November 1.

The court on Wednesday granted remand of two managers of the OREVA Group and two sub-contractors who had repaired the bridge, in police custody till November 5.

Also read: Morbi bridge collapse | Generations wiped out in disaster

Five other accused — three security guards and two ticket clerks — have been sent to judicial custody by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate M.J. Khan.

The four accused remanded in police custody were OREVA managers Dipak Parekh and Dinesh Dave, and repairing contractors Prakash Parmar and Devang Parmar, hired by the OREVA Group.

Festive season

The company, OREVA Group had time till December to complete the repairs and renovation, but it opened the bridge much earlier, anticipating a huge crowd in the festive season of Deepavali and Gujarati New Year, while ignoring the safety aspects.

The Morbi Superintendent of Police told the media that in the course of investigation, other persons might be added as accused in the case.

The prosecution presented the FSL report in a sealed cover during the court proceedings.

Editorial | The burden of tragedy: On the Morbi bridge tragedy in Gujarat

However, there is still no clarity regarding why the OREVA Group was given the contract to maintain and manage the historic bridge for 15 years.

The police and other administration officials are tight-lipped about the contract given to OREVA, a clock and electronic appliances manufacturing company in Morbi.

Meanwhile, Gujarat Congress president Jagdish Thakor and former Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela have written to the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court demanding a court-monitored Special Investigation Team to probe the incident.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.