The Gujarat High Court on Thursday ordered the state administration to inspect every bridge to make sure it is in “good condition.”
The court ordered the state to submit a list of bridges along with a verified report on each one’s condition after taking suo motu notice of the bridge collapse in Morbi last month, which resulted in the deaths of 135 people.
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’, according to media reports.
The Gujarat High Court made these observations days after the Supreme Court instructed it to review the case “monthly” in order to make sure investigations uncover those responsible for criminal negligence and provide adequate compensation to the families.
The highest court also urged the high court to think about establishing regulatory frameworks to make sure that similar unfortunate occurrences don’t occur again.
The Morbi “hanging” suspension footbridge across the Machchu river collapsed on October 30 – two days after it was allegedly rebuilt.
Official reports said 135 people were killed but petitions filed before the Supreme Court have pegged the death toll at 141.
The occurrence was described as “a tremendous tragedy” by the Supreme Court.
The Morbi civic government was criticized by the High Court last week for its agreement with a private company to maintain the bridge and was questioned about whether the civic body had given the private company authorization to reopen the structure to the public.
The Ajanta clock-making company The Oreva Group was given the duty of doing the upkeep.
With an Assembly election scheduled for next month, the bridge collapse immediately turned into a significant political controversy. Asaduddin Owaisi, the leader of AIMIM and a member of parliament from Hyderabad, lambasted the BJP 3 days before.
“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 Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party have also challenged the BJP on the Morbi issue, despite the party’s hopes and widespread expectations of retaining power in prime minister Narendra Modi’s home state for an eighth consecutive term.