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Morbi municipality chief officer suspended, days after bridge collapse killed 135 people

Chief officer of Morbi municipality Sandeepsinh Zala had admitted that the bridge was reopened without a fitness certificate.

So far, nine people have been arrested, including two managers of Oreva Group, two contractors hired by it, two ticket booking clerks and three security guards posted at the bridge. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

Days after a century-old cable suspension bridge collapsed in Gujarat’s Morbi district killing 135 people, the Chief officer (CO) of Morbi municipality Sandeepsinh Zala, who had admitted that the bridge was reopened without a fitness certificate, was suspended on Friday, district collector GT Pandya told The Indian Express.

Rajkot regional commissioner of municipalities DB Vyas, however, said that his office is yet to receive an official communication in this regard.

The probe into the collapse on October 30 had reached the doorsteps of the Morbi municipality on November 2 as Zala was questioned by the police for several hours even as investigators said that the private contractors engaged by Oreva Group did not conduct any “scientific assessment of structural stability” of the bridge during its repair and renovation.

Zal had said that the bridge was a property of the Morbi municipality but had handed it over to Oreva Group earlier this year for maintenance and operations for a duration of 15 years. He had blamed the company for reopening the bridge without notifying the municipality and without a fitness certificate.

The police has so far found that the renovation was undertaken without any structural stability assessment and that the contractor hired by Oreva to do the repairs were technically unqualified.

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So far, nine people have been arrested, including two managers of Oreva Group, two contractors hired by it, two ticket booking clerks and three security guards posted at the bridge.

First published on: 04-11-2022 at 10:56 IST
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