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    Bridge collapse: Gujarat govt issues show-cause notice to Morbi municipality asking why it shouldn’t be dissolved

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    Months after a suspension bridge collapsed in Morbi town of Gujarat killing 135 people, the state government has issued a show-cause notice to the local municipality asking why it should not be dissolved for failing to discharge its duties.

    The notice was issued on Wednesday by the state Urban Development Department, which directed the Morbi civic body to submit a written clarification in the form of a general body resolution by January 25.

    Notably, the state government had on December 13 told the Gujarat High Court, which took cognisance of the tragedy on its own and registered a public interest litigation (PIL), that it had decided to dissolve the municipality.

    The suspension bridge on the Machchhu river in Morbi town collapsed on October 30 last year, killing 135 persons. The bridge was maintained and operated by Oreva Group as per an agreement signed with Morbi municipality.

    In the notice, the department has said that the previous contract to operate the bridge expired in 2017. Between 2018 and 2020, Oreva Group had written several letters to the Morbi municipality warning about the dilapidated condition of the bridge and also cautioned that a serious accident may occur if the bridge remains open to the public in such a condition.

    However, the civic body did not take cognisance of such warnings by the company, the notice said. Moreover, the municipality did not take any concrete action to take over the bridge from the company in 2017 after the completion of the contract and remained inactive despite knowing the situation of the bridge, it said.

    “The company failed to hand over the bridge to the concerned authority and no corrective action could be taken by either party to improve the condition of the bridge,” the notice said citing the findings of a Special Investigation Team (SIT). It further said that several lapses on the part of Oreva Group were also found in repairs, maintenance and operation of the bridge, such as no restriction on the number of persons accessing the bridge at a given point in time, no restriction on the sale of tickets, leading to unrestricted movement on the bridge and repair being carried out without consulting competent experts.


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