13 Oct 2023

Gujarat Morbi Bridge Collapse: Who Has Been Held Responsible In SIT Report For Death Of 135 People?

Ahmedabad: On the evening of October 30, 2022, 135 people, including children, died due to the collapse of the historic suspension bridge of Morbi in Gujarat.

It has been one year since this accident and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Gujarat Government for this case has submitted its final report in the Gujarat High Court on October 10.

In its report, the SIT has clearly held Oreva Group, its director Jaysukh Patel and managers Deepak Dave and Deepak Parekh responsible for this bridge accident.

The SIT also said that it was the criminal negligence of Jaysukh Patel and company's managers that resulted in the death of 135 people.

Gujarat's biggest man-made disaster

In the report, the Morbi Bridge disaster has been called Gujarat's biggest and most gruesome man-made disaster.

The final report of more than 2,000 pages presented in the Gujarat High Court gives a detailed description of the reasons behind the tragic accident.

'Mismanagement and criminal negligence led to accident'

The report clearly states that due to mismanagement, technical failures, gross negligence, autocratic attitude and criminal negligence of Oreva Company, which managed the Morbi bridge, this suspension bridge collapsed in which 135 people lost their lives. Therefore, Oreva Group, Jaysukh Patel of Oreva Group and his two managers are responsible for this serious accident.

Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Anirudh P Mayi asked the government, “If Oreva Group, its director and managers were accused of criminal negligence, then why has this company not been blacklisted yet?”

Report exposes lapses of Oreva Group

Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, appearing for the Gujarat government, said, “This report has exposed several serious administrative and technical lapses of Oreva Group in the operation, maintenance and management of Morbi Bridge.”

Trivedi said, "Oreva company did not take technical opinion from experts of any agency nor was any consultation done with Morbi Municipality members."

'Fitness certificate was  not taken before reopening  the bridge.'

Citing the report, the state government told the court, “Oreva Company showed gross negligence in the operation and maintenance of Morbi Bridge. Had they taken expert advice, it could have been repaired or replaced.”

"Even after repairing the bridge, the Oreva company did not hold any discussion with the municipality. The fitness certificate was also not taken before reopening the bridge."

"Moreover, there was no control over the sale of tickets to people visiting the bridge. It was also negligent to allow hundreds of people to cross the bridge."

Govt took any action or not, asks Court

The bench asked whether the government took any action or not? The government's answer was that it was waiting for the report and action would be taken accordingly.

It was argued on behalf of Oreva company that the company has given compensation of Rs 14 crore to all the victims as per the order of the High Court, but many victims have applied for more compensation in the consumer court. Oreva Company has taken the responsibility of orphan children till they reach adulthood.

Gujarat High Court said, “The company has also been directed to provide employment to widows or destitute women.”

The High Court asked both the government and the Oreva company to provide detailed information about the victimized women and children.

Victims' lawyer said this

Victims' lawyer Utkarsh Dave told reporters, “SIT has made Oreva company and its officials accountable in its report. The company was not even given any kind of certificate. There were no guidelines on ticket sales. There were not enough security personnel on the bridge. As a result, it was impossible to control people."

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