Expressing his grief over the bridge collapse in Morbi that killed 134 people and injured several others, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said at the Rashtriya Ekta Divas event in Ekta Nagar, Kevadia, that although “duty” required him to be in Ekta Nagar, his “mind was with the families of the victims”. The PM got teary-eyed at an event in Tharad, Banaskantha, later in the day.
“I am in Ekta Nagar but my mind is connected to the victims of Morbi… On one hand, I have immense pain in my heart and on the other hand, I have my path of duty to walk… I express my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy. The Gujarat government is with them… NDRF, the Indian Air Force and the Army have joined in the operations. We are ensuring that all treatment is available in hospitals. The Central government is also monitoring it,” the PM said.
Adding that Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel was leading the rescue operations from the front, Modi said, “The state government has already formed a committee to look into the incident. Ekta Divas gives us the inspiration to face such tragic situations. We take inspiration from the courage of Sardar Patel to go forward despite the grief.”
The cultural programmes planned across the country as part of Rashtriya Ekta Divas celebrations were cancelled in view of the Morbi tragedy. Formal police parades and defence shows were held with the Statue of Unity (SoU) in the backdrop to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Emphasising on India’s unity, the PM cited the example of Morbi saying, “Every Indian has been praying for the safety of the victims… So many locals came forward to help in hospitals and at the accident site. During Covid-19 also, India went forward like a family…”
Later at an event in Tharad, Banaskantha, the PM was in tears when he referred to the Morbi tragedy as “very painful and devastating”. Before the PM arrived, Banas Dairy chairman Shankar Chaudhary announced from the stage, “Because of the Morbi tragedy, We were asked by the Prime Minister to cancel the roadshow and felicitation events.”
Talking about the tragedy, Modi said, “Gujarat is mourning today. Citizens in the country are very sad. The terrible tragedy happened last (Sunday) evening in Morbi in which several people… small children lost their lives. Our condolences are with the bereaved families who have lost their families, relatives, little ones in the tragedy.” Assuring people that no effort will be spared in relief and rescue work, the PM said, “No effort will be spared from the government.”