Over 130 people have died so far after a suspension bridge in Gujarat’s Morbi collapsed on Sunday. Just four days into its reopening, the bridge on Machchhu river saw a huge rush of tourists on Sunday and is said to have snapped as it could not bear the weight of the people standing on it. 132 people have been reported dead so far, while more bodies are reportedly being fished out.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the families of each of those who died and Rs 50,000 for the injured. Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said that the state government has formed a committee to probe the collapse. An FIR was also lodged in the bridge collapse under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (intentional act causing death) and 114 (abettor present when offence committed), against whoever is found responsible, Sanghavi said.
Hailed as “an engineering marvel", the century-old bridge had been under renovation for over six months and was opened for the public on Gujarati New Day on October 26.
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Private group Oreva had been entrusted with repair work. 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), an official said.
Here’s all you need to know about Morbi and the river that flows through it
Morbi- India’s ceramics factory
Morbi district, which is surrounded by Kutch in the north, Rajkot in the south, Surendranagar in the east and Jamnagar in the west. It was created on August 15, 2013 and has five talukas — Morbi, Maliya, Tankara, Wankaner, and Halvad.
Morbi district is home to hundreds of ceramic producing factories. Also known as India’s ceramics factory, Morbi produces around 70% of India’s ceramics and exports ceramic tiles to countries in the Middle East, East Asia, and Africa, according to Indian Express.
Morbi town is situated on the Machchhu River, a small river that rises in the Madla Hills and flows 130 km into the Rann of Kutch. The town also serves as the administrative headquarters of the district. In 1979, thousands people were killed after a dam on the river failed.
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The suspension bridge “Jhulto Pul” was inaugurated in 1879 during the regime of Sir Waghji Ravaji, the Thakur Sahib of Morbi (1858-1922), who is also credited to plan and build the city of Morbi, Indian Express reported.
The bridge measures 1.25 m wide and spans 233 m on the Machchhu River connecting Darbargadh Palace and Lakhdhirji Engineering College. It has been hailed as a magnificent engineering marvel and attracts hundreds of tourists every day.
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