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SIT releases probe report in the Morbi Bridge Incident

According to a news article published, the Gujrat government has appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT); it has come to the notice of this team in its recent preliminary probe corrosion on nearly half of the wires on a cable and welding of old suspenders with the new ones were some of the major faults that led to the collapse of the suspension in Morbi. These findings have been a part of the recent preliminary report on the Morbi Bridge Incident, which was published and submitted by the five-member SIT in December 2022; however, this  report was shared with the Morbi Municipality by the State Urban Development Department.



The SIT further investigated and noted that ‘the two main cables of the bridge, built by the erstwhile rulers in 1887 over river Machchuu, one cable was having corrosion issues  and nearly half of its wires “maybe already broken” even before the cable snapped on October 30 evening.  Morbi police have already taken the accused and taken into custody, including Overa Group’s MD Jaysukh Patel, under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 336 (act with endangers to human life), 337 (causing hurt to any person by doing any rash or negligent act) and under 338 (causing grievances hurt by doing rash or negligent act).


The probe report also pointed out that replacing individual wooden planks with an aluminum deck played a role in the collapse. The aluminum honeycomb panels were fixed without any gap in between, which makes the deck more flexible to deform in its plane, said the SIT, adding that using aluminum could have increased the overall weight of the bridge too.

"The walking structure was made up of rigid aluminum panels instead of a flexible wooden plank if there were individual wooden planks which were situated before renovation; moreover, no load test or a structure test was conducted before opening the bridge for the common public." The Morbi Municipality, without any consent or approval of the general board, had awardedthe contract to maintain and operate the bridge to the Overa Group (Ajanta Manufacturing Limited), which closed the bridge in March 2022 for renovation and opened it on 26th October without paying any prior approval or conducting an investigation.


 According to the SIT few more points came to light "it was observed out of 49 wires of that particular cable, 22 were corrupted which further indicated that those wires may have already broken before the incident occurred. The remaining 27 wires recently broke." Each cable was formed by seven strands, each comprising seven steel wires. Forty - nine wires were clubbed together in seven strands to form this cable. This was also highlighted in a recent report released by SIT.


There were around 300 people on the bridge when it collapsed, which was far more than the load-bearing capacity of the Morbi bridge as compared to the actual power  of the bridge will further be confirmed in various laboratory reports. Chief members of the SIT included IAS officer Rajkumar Beniwal, IPS officer Subhash Trivedi, a secretary and a chief engineer from the state Roads and Building Department, and a professor of structural engineering.

These members also added that the main cable on the upstream side snapped, leading to the tragedy. A chargesheet was filed in January in which the MD of Overa group Jaysukh Patel, was included as an accused. After filing the chargedsheet he surrendered before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Morbi.


SIT recommended a few guidelines along with some anomalies in the Morbi bridge case. It suggested  that a register must be maintained for all the public structures, periodic audits of them,  and a proper SOP should be developed. A "competent authority should periodically inspect any system used by the public." 


It was also included in the report that no restrictions were imposed on the number of persons who were accessing the bridge at a given point in time. No limits were  implied on the sale of tickets leading to unrestricted movement occurring on the bridge. 


In addition to that, insufficient security to prevent the public from damaging the bridge because a few youngsters were seen purposely moving the cable of the bridge towards the right before the collapse of the bridge in a small video that was surfaced after the bridge's collapse was pointed out by SIT.

In this chargesheet, it was disclosed and mentioned that the Overa officials allowed the bridge to be overcrowded as it was holding a high demand for tickets, and these were sold out in bulk. The company opened the bridge in a massive  rush without any fitness certificate, and the local authorities were not informed about its reopening. The chargesheet, in this case, has been lodged against ten suspects under IPC sections 304, 308, 114, 336, 337, and 338. 


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