Ahmedabad-based Oreva group which is a subsidiary of Ajanta was responsible for the renovation and repair of the colonial-era suspension cable bridge in Morbi
Morbi: The probe in the Morbi Bridge Collapse case revealed that Overa Group spent only Rs 12 lakh on renovation. The group was allotted Rs 2 Crore. The Oreva Group’s claim of “full and final” renovation of the 143-year-old Morbi suspension footbridge that collapsed, was little more than cosmetic work on which the company spent Rs 12 lakh.
Ahmedabad-based Oreva group which is a subsidiary of Ajanta was responsible for the renovation and repair of the colonial-era suspension cable bridge in Morbi. Oreva Group had signed a 15-year bridge maintenance contract with Morbi Nagar Palika in March 2022 that was valid till 2037. Oreva Group chairman Jaysukh Patel announced on October 24 that the bridge was ready and safe to be reopened on Gujarati New Year. He said the renovation, spanning six months, was complete.
Police investigation revealed that Oreva, a company that is an industry leader in clocks and appliances
but lacks infrastructure experience, subcontracted the renovation to the Dhrangadhra-based company DevPrakash Solutions. It allegedly spent only about 6% of the allotted amount on the repair work. The conclusions are consistent with those of the Forensic Science Laboratory, which stated that there was no evidence of the building receiving anything more than a nip and tuck.
“The only fitness test of the bridge was the stroll across the carriageway that Patel and his family took on October 24,” an official said.
The money spent on repairing the bridge is mentioned in documents seized from DevPrakash Solutions.
Police filed an FIR (first information report) charging entities in charge of bridge maintenance and operation with criminal homicide. According to police, the case was filed in Morbi under Indian Penal Code Sections 304 (the penalty for culpable homicide not equivalent to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide).
The FIR, lodged by ‘B’ division police inspector Prakash Dekivadia, stated that the bridge was not in use for over eight months. The local administration had roped in a “private agency” for its maintenance.
The Gujarat government suspended Morbi Municipality’s Chief Officer Sandipsinh Zala over the bridge collapse, a senior official said on Friday.
“The state Urban Development Department has suspended Chief Officer of Morbi Municipality Sandipsinh Zala,” said Morbi District Collector G T Pandya.
Resident Additional Collector of Morbi has been given the additional charge of the Chief Officer until further orders, he said.
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