The entire nation is mourning as death toll in Gujarat’s Morbi bridge collapse has risen to a heartbreaking 141 with several dozen still injured and receiving treatment. Earlier on 30 October 2022, Jhulto Pul located in Morbi district collapsed, trapping hundreds of people who were on it.
The century-old pedestrian bridge that was built during the British era had re-opened earlier last week, after being shut for maintenance and repair work. As per new reports emerging, the bridge was open to the public but had not received the fitness certificate from the municipal corporation concerned.
Following the tragic collapse, teams from Indian Army, Indian Airforce, Navy and Coast Guard were deployed to undertake the search and rescue operation. Two teams of 50 divers from the Indian Navy have been deployed to see the operation through while two units of Army from both Bhuj and Surendranagar were deployed, along with a Garud commandos team.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter and shared a tweet in Gujarat which read – “I am deeply saddened by the tragedy at Morbi. Talked to Gujarat Chief Minister Shri @Bhupendrapbjp and other officials about this. Relief and rescue operations are going on in full swing and all necessary assistance is being provided to the affected.”
PM Modi also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakhs to the kin of deceased.
The Facts of the Matter
The nation was recently struck with one of the biggest avoidable mishaps in the recent history. In Gujarat’s Morbi district, the famous Jhulto Pul collapsed, resulting in deaths of at least 141 people so far. The 230 metre bridge hanging on the Machchu river was built during the British era back in 19th century, and had since been one of the most popular tourist spots in Gujarat.
Locals Claim Overcrowding Led to mishap
While actual cause of mishap is yet to be ascertained, locals are pointing their fingers at the overcrowding on the bridge, which may have caused it to collapse. It should be noted that the bridge had been closed for repair and maintenance work about seven months ago, and was opened a week ago. The recent opening after a long closure resulted in flocks of people taking to the bridge.
Here is the authentic CCTV footage of the Morbi bridge collapse: NOT the old videos that are being made viral to blame the public. Yes, bridge is crowded but to blame crowds would be to shun responsibility for multiple level failures of those involved in ensuring safety. pic.twitter.com/6wVA0xddXl
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) October 31, 2022
As per reports, the deceased include several women, elderly and children that were overcrowding on the bridge when it snapped and collapsed into the water below. Following the incident, teams of NDRF were deployed to undertake the critical search and rescue operation.
The mishap reportedly occurred sometime around 6.30. By 9.45 pm, at least 60 bodies were fished out by the rescue personnel. Over the course of hours, teams of Indian Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard were deployed to see the search and relief work through.
172 People Rescued, Bodies Handed to Family
Earlier on Monday, the Gujarat government issued a statement, stating as many as 172 people were rescued, while 93 injured people were being treated at different hospitals. Further, the bodies of 132 deceased individuals were handed over to their families.
PM Modi, Gujarat CM Announces Relief Package
PM Modi announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakhs from the PMNRF for the bereaved and Rs 50,000 to the injured. Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel also announced a relief package of Rs 4 lakhs for the bereaved and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
The Mishap was Avoidable
It is being reported that the bridge had been opened without a “fitness certificate” from the municipal corporation after the repair work. Morbi Municipality chief Sandeepsinh Zala mentioned that Oreva Group, which was responsible for the maintenance and repair work, opened the bridge for public use without notifying the city’s municipal corporation. No safety audit of the bridge was conducted.