The suspension bridge that collapsed in Gujarat’s Morbi city on Sunday evening was reopened on October 26 for public after renovation without a fitness certificate, reported The Indian Express.
Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said on Monday that 132 people have died after the century-old bridge on the Machchu river collapsed at 6.15 pm on Sunday, reported ANI. He added that a criminal case has been registered in connection with the accident.
The bridge was managed by the Morbi municipality but was given to the Oreva Group on contract for management for 15 years in March, said local body chief Sandeepsinh Zala. The bridge was then shut down for renovation.
“However, the private firm threw the bridge open to visitors without notifying us and therefore, we couldn’t get a safety audit of the bridge conducted,” Zala told The Indian Express. “It was opened to the public after the completion of the renovation work. But the local municipality had not yet issued any fitness certificate [after the renovation].”
Oreva Group’s spokesperson, however, claimed that the bridge collapsed as too many persons in the mid-section of the bridge were trying to sway it from one way to the other. He added that the company was waiting for more information.
Sanghavi has said that a five-member committee will investigate the collapse.
The Army, Navy, National Disaster Response Force and the fire brigade have been pressed into service for search and rescue operations, which is still underway.
Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh for families of the victims and Rs 50,000 for those injured. He is also overseeing the relief work at the accident site.