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Mega Crackdown In Morbi Bridge Collapse Tragedy; Oreva Group's Office Raided By Police

In the latest update on the Morbi bridge collapse case wherein 135 people died, the police visited the Oreva group office in Gujarat's Morbi.

Image: Republic

After the Republic Media network investigation revealed several lapses by the Oreva group leading to the tragic collapse of the Morbi bridge wherein 135 people died, the police visited the company's office in Morbi to inquire about the managers and top-level officials. Notably, a team of Morbi police comprising local crime branch officials had gone to verify some information they received about top-level management's involvement in the matter. The police received the information from the accused in custody.

On Thursday, four days after the unfortunate tragedy in Gujarat's Morbi, a team of the Morbi police reached Oreva Group's main office in Ajanta Oreva township in Morbi. They had gone to ask and see if managers of the company were present at the Morbi office. Upon finding that the managers and other top-level officials were not present at the office, the police team returned. This development holds significance as it comes after the arrest of nine people linked to the company in the Morbi bridge collapse case. It is pertinent to mention that there are two offices of the Oreva group in Gujarat: one in Ahmedabad and the other in Morbi.

Notably, on March 7, 2022, Ajanta Manufacturing Pvt ltd of the Oreva group was given the sole responsibility of the bridge's renovation. The agreement signed between Ajanta Manufacturing Ltd. and the Morbi Municipality stated a 15-year contract for maintenance, upkeep, renovation, and taking care of amenities, staffing, and ticketing. As per the agreement, no government agency in Morbi would have any role in the tasks assigned to the company as part of the contract. 

Morbi bridge reopened without a fitness certificate

After seven months, the bridge reopened for the public and that too without fitness clearance by the authorities. The Morbi Municipality Chief Officer Sandeep Singh Zala admitted to Republic TV that the bridge which collapsed didn't have fitness clearance and was opened without intimation to the authorities. 

Just four days after the reopening, around 675 tickets were sold on the day when the bridge could carry only 150 people at once.  As a result, the bridge collapsed on October 30 leading to 135 deaths, at a time when it was estimated there were many more people on the bridge than it could bear. 

During Republic TV's on-ground investigation, the main structure revealed signs of deterioration and significant rust corrosion in the nearly century-old suspension bridge. While reporting at the periphery of the now-collapsed bridge, the visuals showcased a lack of renovation as the snapped suspension cable was not strong enough to hold the bridge. The iron gates of the bridge were just painted as it couldn't hide the rusting on the gates and fences.

Morbi bridge collapse

A massive tragedy occurred in Gujarat's Morbi on Sunday evening as a century-old suspension bridge - Jhoolta Pul (Hanging bridge) collapsed claiming the lives of 135 people. The cable bridge on the Machchhu river was reopened on the Gujarati- New Year, October 26, after seven months of repair work. The state government has formed a five-member committee comprising top officials to investigate the tragedy. 

Notably, the bridge with a capacity of 150 was allowed to accommodate over 400 people leading to overcrowding. As of now, nine people linked to the Ajanta Oreva Group have been arrested by the Gujarat Police in connection with the Morbi bridge collapse tragedy. PM Modi visited Morbi and chaired multiple meetings to review the situation. He reiterated that the "need of the hour" is to conduct a detailed and extensive inquiry that will identify all aspects relating to this tragedy. 

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