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SC terms Morbi Bridge collapse an 'enormous tragedy', asks HC to hear plea seeking judicial probe

SC terms Morbi Bridge collapse an 'enormous tragedy', asks HC to hear plea seeking judicial probe

SC terms Morbi Bridge collapse an 'enormous tragedy', asks HC to hear plea seeking judicial probe
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By Abhimanyu Sharma  Nov 21, 2022 1:36:16 PM IST (Updated)

The Supreme Court termed Morbi collapse incident an "enormous tragedy". Over 140 people had died after a bridge collapse in the Morbi district of Gujarat last month.

The Supreme Court asked the Gujarat High Court on Monday to hear a plea seeking judicial probe into the Morbi Bridge collapse incident. The judges also termed the incident an "enormous tragedy" as over 140 people had died after a bridge collapse in the Morbi district of Gujarat last month.

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"It is an enormous tragedy and this will require a weekly monitoring to see award of contract, credential of party awarded the contract, attribution of responsibility for those guilty. The high court has taken charge else we would have issued notice," Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea that sought enhanced compensation for Morbi bridge victims and probe by a Supreme Court's ex-judge.
A suspension bridge on the Machchhu river in Gujarat's Morbi collapsed in October last week after it was crammed with people. It had reopened after extensive repairs and renovation.
Gujarat Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi said the state government had formed a five-member high-powered committee to probe the collapse. An FIR was also lodged against the maintenance and management agencies of the bridge under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (intentional act causing death) and 114 (abettor present when offence committed), against whoever is found responsible.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the families of each of those who died in a bridge collapse in Gujarat's Morbi city. The state government also announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
As a probe was initiated to find the cause of the incident, several lapses were found on part of the Oreva group, responsible for the maintenance of the bridge and the local administration in Morbi. Founded by Odhavji Raghavji Patel nearly five decades back, Oreva group manufactures wall clocks under the popular Ajanta and Orpat brands.
Earlier, the Gujarat High Court had raised concerns over the failure of compliance for the renovation contract to the Gujarat-based Ajanta Manufacturing.
"State took steps that are expected from it (after the incident) but the agreement signed b/w Morbi civic body and a private contractor for bridge renovation) is just 1.5 pages. No tender was invited. Why was the contract granted without inviting any tender?," a bench of Chief Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J Shastri had said.
The court had also noted that despite the expiry MoU signed between the Collector of Rajkot district and Ajanta in June 2017, the company continued to maintain the bridge. The court also inquired about the steps taken to float a new tender.
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