The private company that renovated the British-era bridge in Gujarat’s Morbi, which collapsed yesterday, killing at least 141 people, opened the bridge to the public months before the agreed time.
Here’s your 5-point cheatsheet in this big story:
According to the contract, signed between the Morbi municipality and Ajanta Manufacturing Private Limited, the bridge was to remain shut for eight to twelve months for maintenance.
However, the historic colonial-era bridge was thrown open to the public on October 26, without a fitness certificate from the civic authorities. Oreva, which is a part of Ajanta, charged Rs 17 for tickets, but every safety rule was broken.
The contract, signed in March 2022, is valid for 15 years — till 2037. The agreement says the price of the tickets will increase year-on-year. Maintenance, cleaning, and payment collection to be done by the company itself, it says.
This agreement was finalised in January 2020 after a meeting where the District Collector, Ajanta Manufacturing Pvt Ltd, and Morbi municipality officials were present.
There were close to 500 people on the “hanging bridge” when the cables snapped on Sunday evening, sending hundreds tumbling into the river. The bridge could take the weight of only about 125 people, according to officials.
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