File photo of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams carrying out rescue operations at the scene of Sunday's collapse of a suspension bridge over Machchu river in Morbi, Gujarat on the morning of Monday, October 31, 2022
File photo of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams carrying out rescue operations at the scene of Sunday's collapse of a suspension bridge over Machchu river in Morbi, Gujarat on the morning of Monday, October 31, 2022Siddharaj Solanki/IANS

Morbi civic body blames Ajanta Manufacturing for bridge collapse

Ahmedabad, November 17, 2022

The Morbi Nagar Palika on Thursday squarely blamed the Ajanta Manufacturing Ltd (Oreva group) for the October 30 bridge collapse saying it not only opened the bridge for the public sans approval, but also without scientific testing of its sustainability and fitness.

The charges were made in an affidavit filed before the Gujarat High Court by Morbi Nagar Palika in-charge Chief Officer Naran Muchhar.

In the tragic accident, around 140 people, including 51 children, were killed, following which the Gujarat High Court initiated suo motu proceedings in the case.

"On 26-10-2022, without any prior approval, the company reopened the Suspension Bridge for public at large and that too, without letting Morbi Nagar Palika know about the kind of repairing work which was stated to have been carried out by the company as well as without providing any independent third party's certificate/s relating to material testing, fitness, holding capacity and structure stability of the said Suspension Bridge," the officer further stated.

Though the period of the aforesaid MoU had expired on 15.08.2017, the Suspension Bridge continued to be maintained and managed by the company, in absence of any new agreement.

According to the new agreement between Morbi Nagar Palika and the Oreva group signed on March 8, it is entirely for Ajanta to look after all the administration functions, including the appointment of staff, cleanliness, maintenance, ticket booking, collection and accounts of expenses, wherein there will not be any interference from the Nagar Palika, Corporation or any other government agency, he further stated.

IANS

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