Just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the site of the bridge collapse in Morbi, Gujarat, that killed 130 people, the name of the company “renovating” the British-era bridge – Orewa Group – was slapped with a white label. Covered with plastic sheeting.
It was part of what rivals called “incident management” for the prime minister’s visit two days after his downfall. The local government hospital was also repainted at night and wards with new beds and sheets were set up, where the prime minister will meet some of the wounded.
In their parliamentary campaign, rival parties Congress and AAP have turned to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party BJP – who have held power in his home state of Gujarat for more than two decades – on how the suspension bridge was brought forward without jobs The reopening has been approved by any authority.
Some of the old cables on the Morbi Bridge were not replaced during the seven-month refurbishment project by Gujarat-based Oreva Group, a watchmaker best known for its “Ajanta” brand, sources said.
The company allegedly outsourced the “technical aspects” to a small, undocumented company, Dev Prakash Solutions, shortly after it entered into a 15-year regular refurbishment contract with the Morbi citizen group.
The bridge, which had been closed for renovations since March, reopened last week — with tickets priced at 12 to 17 rupees — before it collapsed just four days later. Sources told NDTV that Oreva, bound by its contract worth Rs 2 crore, will close the bridge for eight to 12 months for maintenance and repairs.
Oreva has been charged with multiple security violations. But none of its upper echelons were arrested.
Police have made nine arrests so far, most of them staff.
Police said in the FIR that reopening the bridge early was a “grossly irresponsible and careless gesture”.