- Atleast 77 people were killed 100 others injured in bridge collapse
- A five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to probe the incident
- The suspension-cable bridge had lacked the municipality's 'fitness certificate'
Morbi bridge collapses Updates: At least 77 people have died while 100 others are injured after a cable bridge collapsed over the Machchhu river in Morbi area on Sunday. Rescue operations are underway where 3 platoons of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) with 50 personnel of the Indian Navy, 30 personnel of India Air Force (IAF) along with 2 columns of Army personnel and 7 teams of Fire Brigade have been deployed with advanced equipment from Rajkot, Jamnagar, Diu and Surendranagar.
The bridge, which was recently reopened to the public after renovation, collapsed as it could not bear the weight of the people standing on it, officials said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the next of kin of the people who lost their lives in the mishap while Rs. 50,000 each will be provided to the injured. Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel also extended condolences towards injured people and announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 4 lakh to the family of those deceased.
"Due to the bridge collapse, several people fell into the river. A rescue operation is underway. There are reports that several people have suffered injuries. They are being rushed to hospitals," local MLA and state minister Brijesh Merja said. According to eyewitnesses, there were several women and children on the hanging bridge when it snapped.
SIT to probe incident
A five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to probe the incident. The team will comprise of Rajkumar Beniwal (IAS), KM Patel, (Chief Engineer), Gopal Tank (HOD Structural Engineering), Sandeep Vasava (Secretary Roads and Buildings) and Subhash Trivedi (IG- CID Crime).
Morbi cable bridge lacked 'fitness certificate'
The suspension-cable bridge had lacked the municipality's 'fitness certificate', an official said. The bridge had reopened for public just four days back after seven months of repair work by a private firm. The more than a century-old bridge in Morbi city caved in around 6.30 pm when it was crammed with people.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has also reached the tragedy site to take stock of the situation. "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.
An "engineering marvel" built at the turn of the 19th century, the suspension bridge was said to reflect "the progressive and scientific nature of the rulers of Morbi," as per its description on the district collectorate website.
Condolences pour in for deceased
PM Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the next of kin of the people who lost their lives in the mishap while Rs. 50,000 each will be provided to the injured. Expressing his grief on Twitter, Modi wrote in Gujarati, "I am deeply saddened by the tragedy at Morbi. Regarding this, the Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendra and talked to other officials. Relief and rescue operations are going on in full swing and all necessary assistance is being provided to the affected."
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel extended condolences towards injured people. He announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 4 lakh to the family of those deceased in the tragedy and Rs 50,000 to the injured. Patel tweeted, "I express my condolences to the families of the civilians who lost their lives in the Morbi tragedy. The state government will provide Rs 4 lakh to the family of each deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured."
Home Minister Amit Shah also expressed grief over the tragedy and said, "I am deeply saddened by the accident in Morbi. I have spoken to Harsh Sanghvi, Minister of State for Home, Gujarat and other officials in this regard. Local administration is engaged in relief work with full readiness, NDRF is also reaching the spot soon. The administration has been directed to provide immediate treatment to the injured."
President Droupadi Murmu, Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankar, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi among several others condoled the death of those who lost their lives in the mishap.