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Morbi Bridge Collapse: Newly Renovated 'Engineering Marvel' in Gujarat Crumbles Due to Heavy Footfall

By: News Desk

Edited By: Pritha Mallick

News18.com

Last Updated: October 31, 2022, 08:25 IST

Gujarat, India

Morbi: Rescue operation underway after an old suspension bridge over the Machchhu river collapsed, in Morbi district, early Monday, Oct. 31, 2022.  (PTI)

Morbi: Rescue operation underway after an old suspension bridge over the Machchhu river collapsed, in Morbi district, early Monday, Oct. 31, 2022. (PTI)

The bridge was hailed as "an engineering marvel built at the turn of the century" by the Gujarat government according to its official website

More than 130 people died, mostly women, children, and the elderly, after a suspension bridge, noted to be an “engineering marvel", on Machchhu river in Gujarat’s Morbi city collapsed on Sunday evening, days after it was reopened after renovation.

Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi confirmed on Monday morning that a total of 132 deaths had been reported so far, as per news agency ANI. The nearly century-old bridge collapsed as it could not bear the weight of the people standing on it, according to reports. Sanghavi told reporters that the state government has formed a committee to probe the collapse.

The bridge was hailed as “an engineering marvel built at the turn of the century" by the Gujarat government according to its official website. “The Suspension Bridge, an engineering marvel built at the turn of the century, reflects the progressive and scientific nature of the rulers of Morbi," it said. The bridge was built to give “a unique identity to Morbi" using the latest technology in Europe at the time of its construction, it said.

(Image: Gujarat government website: morbi.nic.in)

A private operator had carried out the repair work of the bridge for nearly seven months before it was reopened to the public on the Gujarati New Year day celebrated on October 26.

After the incident, officials found that bridge had not received the municipality’s “fitness certificate" before its reopening. “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," said Chief Officer of Morbi Municipality Sandeepsinh Zala.

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 work)," he said.

The bridge measures 1.25 m wide and spans 233 m on the Machchhu River connecting Darbargadh Palace and Lakhdhirji Engineering College. Morbi city, erstwhile princely state of Morbi, is located in Gujarat 53 km from Rajkot and south of Little Rann of Kutch.

Bridge Collapse

There was a rush of people on the bridge, which was reopened for the public just four days back following the renovation work, when it snapped around 6.30 pm.

Eyewitnesses told PTI news agency that there were several women, children and others on the hanging bridge when it snapped, plunging them into the water below.

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said he was saddened by the tragedy in a tweet. “Relief and rescue operations by the administration are going on. The administration has been instructed to arrange immediate treatment for the injured. I am in constant contact with the district administration in this regard," he said.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a tweet that PM Narendra Modi, who is currently in Gujarat, spoke to CM Patel and officials regarding the mishap. “He (PM Modi) has sought urgent mobilisation of teams for rescue ops. He has asked that the situation be closely and continuously monitored, and extend all possible help to those affected," the PMO said.

PM Modi announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the families of each of those who died. “PM Narendra Modi has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from PMNRF (Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund) for the next of kin of each of those who lost their lives in the mishap in Morbi. The injured would be given Rs. 50,000," the PMO said in a series of tweets.

(with inputs from agencies)

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first published:October 30, 2022, 22:05 IST
last updated:October 31, 2022, 08:25 IST
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