A state minister declared on Sunday that the Gujarat government accepted responsibility for the bridge collapse in which at least 90 people died and numerous others were hurt. Four days ago, the almost century-old historic bridge returned to the public after being closed for repairs.
Approximately 500 people were on the bridge in the town of Morbi, which is located about 240 kilometres west of Gandhinagar, and nearly 100 of them were killed when it collapsed. Numerous people were still missing in the river, according to reports.
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“The bridge was renovated last week. We are also shocked. We are looking into the matter,” Brijesh Merja, Minister of State, Labour and Employment said.
Several footages showed dozens of individuals clinging to the bridge’s wires as rescuers and locals fought to free them. Many more people were observed swimming away from the partially submerged bridge to safety.
“All top government officials are on the ground,” Merja added.
A private company had repaired the bridge for seven months before it was reopened to the public just four days ago, but according to an official, the municipality had not yet issued a “fitness certificate.”
Around 6:30 pm, the bridge collapsed due to overcrowding.
“The bridge was given to Oreva company for operation and maintenance for 15 years. In March this year, it was closed to the public for renovation. It reopened after renovation on the Gujarati New Year day celebrated on October 26,” chief officer of the Morbi Municipality Sandeepsinh Zala said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered a compensation of 2 lakh for the relatives of each of the people who died in the tragedy while on a three-day trip to his home state of Gujarat. He also discussed the situation with senior officials, including Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), he requested that teams for rescue operations be mobilised immediately. Fire brigades, steamers, and various national and state emergency response forces have been dispatched to the collapse site.