Morbi Bridge Collapse – A Report

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Morbi Bridge Collapse

The ‘Jhulto Pul’ or hanging bridge in Morbi collapsed on 30th October 22, our condolences to all families that lost their loved ones in this tragedy.

At the latest count, 141 people have died after a pedestrian suspension bridge collapsed in Morbi, Gujarat on 30th October 2022. Rescue operations are underway and nine people have already been arrested. An FIR has been lodged against bridge maintenance and operation agencies.

The Jhulto Pul (“hanging bridge”) was a 230-metre (750 ft) long, 1.25-metre (4 ft 1 in) wide pedestrian suspension bridge over the Machchhu River, built during British rule in India in the 19th century. It was inaugurated on 20 February 1879 (143 years ago).

The toll bridge reopened on 26 October 2022 on the occasion of Gujarati New Year, after being closed for repairs for six months. The chief officer of the municipality, who had given the contract for repairs after the 2001 earthquake, said the private firm responsible for the renovations “threw the bridge open to visitors without notifying us and therefore, we couldn’t get a safety audit of the bridge conducted”. The bridge is owned by Morbi municipality, which signed a contract with the private trust Oreva for maintenance and operations a few months prior. Four days after reopening, the bridge collapsed.

A five-member committee was formed by the Government of Gujarat to investigate and determine the cause. A First Information Report (FIR) was filed against the maintenance and management agencies of the bridge under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (intentional act causing death) and 114 (abettor present when offence committed) of the Indian Penal Code.

According to initial reports, the bridge was reopened ahead of schedule after repairs and without the required fitness certificate from the local civic authorities. It had more than 500 people on it while it had a capacity of only 125.

MP Mohan Kundariya, who lost 12 family members, including his sister, in the incident, said he believed the cause was overloading.

Three factors seem to have brought about this disaster, poor maintenance as it is a very old structure, overcrowding with excess weight and people who were trying to sway it. CCTV footage has revealed that people shook the bridge and it came crashing down. Most deaths have happened due to drowning.

PM Modi has expressed his sadness at the tragedy and said the government will leave no stone unturned to help the victims of the cable bridge collapse.

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Digital Tabloid Edition – Oct 2022 Issue 3 Vol 30  

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