Gujarat: The High court of Gujarat has directed the state government on Thursday, to survey all bridges and ensure they are in a ‘proper condition’. The court – which took suo motu cognisance of the bridge collapse in Morbi last month, in which 135 people died – also directed the state to submit a list of bridges with a certified report on the condition of each.
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The court also remarked on the issue of compensation, observing that the amount given is insufficient. The court said compensation offered to victims’ families should be ‘realistic’ and ‘appropriate’, news agency ANI reported.
The observations by the Gujarat High Court come days after the Supreme Court directed it to examine the case ‘weekly’ to ensure inquiries identify those guilty of criminal negligence and offers adequate compensation to the families.
The top court also asked the high court to consider setting up regulatory mechanisms to ensure that such tragic incidents do not happen again.
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On October 30 – days after it was supposedly renovated – the Morbi ‘hanging’ suspension footbridge over the Machchu river collapsed.
Official reports said 135 people were killed but petitions filed before the Supreme Court have pegged the death toll at 141.
The Supreme Court called the incident ‘an enormous tragedy’.
The High Court last week rapped the Morbi civic body over its deal with a private firm to maintain the bridge, and asked if the private firm had been given permission by the civic body to re-open the structure to the public.
The Oreva Group – a manufacturing firm known for making Ajanta clocks – was tasked with the maintenance work.
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The bridge collapse has quickly snowballed into a major political row, especially with an Assembly election due next month. Hyderabad MP and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi ripped into the ruling BJP (again) Monday.
“If BJP takes credit for developing Gujarat, they should also tell us who’s responsible for making Morbi bridge where 140 people died due to collapse.”
The BJP – hoping and widely expected to retain control of prime minister Narendra Modi’s home state for an eighth consecutive term – has also been challenged on the Morbi issue by the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party.
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