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The Aureva Group has spent Rs 12 lakh out of the Rs 2 crore earmarked for renovations.ATN News

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On October 30, 141 people were killed when a cable bridge across the Machu river suddenly collapsed in Morbi, Gujarat. The contract for the maintenance and operation of the bridge was held by the Aureva Group. Investigation revealed that the company awarded the contract to another firm, which did not have the technical know-how of the infrastructure work.

Relief and rescue operations are underway after a bridge collapsed on the Machu river in Morbi. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Aureva Group, which maintains the 143-year-old cable bridge that collapsed in Gujarat’s Morbi on October 30, claims it has been found to be “fully refurbished”.

According to a report by Times of India, investigations revealed that the company spent Rs 12 lakh on maintenance, repair, renovation etc. of the bridge, which is only 6% of the Rs 2 crore allocated for it.

It may be noted that the more than a century old cable bridge over the Machu River in Morbi city collapsed on the evening of October 30. About 141 people died in this accident. The Aureva Group was awarded a 15-year contract for the maintenance and operation of the bridge by Morbi Municipality in March last year.

The group’s chairman, Jaysakh Patel, announced on October 24 that the bridge was ready and safe to open on the Gujarati New Year. He also said that the repairs, renovations, etc., which had been going on for six months, have been completed.

However, the police investigation into the bridge accident revealed that the company awarded the contract to another company and very little of the allocated money was spent on repairing the debilitating bridge. These findings are in line with findings from the Forensic Science Laboratory, which indicated that the bridge showed no signs of major repairs other than minor work.

“The bridge’s only fitness test was when Patel and his family took a walk on the carriageway of the bridge on October 24,” an official said.

Aureva manufactures watches and appliances and has no expertise in infrastructure. According to the newspaper, it subcontracted the renovation to another Dhrangdhara-based firm, Devprakash Solutions. Investigators have found that the firm also lacked the technical know-how required for such work.

The amount spent on repairing the bridge was found in the documents received from Deoprakash Solutions. Sources close to the investigation told the newspaper that instead of strengthening the bridge’s structure, which included replacing rusted wires and other items, some painting, greasing and other overhead work was done.

Lawyers protest, accused refuse to fight the case

Earlier on Wednesday, Morbi’s lawyers took out a protest march in the city and said they would not fight any accused arrested in connection with the incident, according to news agency ANI.

It is noteworthy that the police have arrested nine people including four employees of Oriva Group in connection with the accident. It is reported that the lawyers have taken this step in support of the families of those who lost their lives in the accident.

A senior advocate AC Prajapati said the Morbi and Rajkot Bar Associations have decided not to prosecute any of the nine accused in the case. In this regard, the resolution has been approved by both the associations.

Categories: India Special Society

Tagged as: Bridge Collapses, Bridge Renovation, Death, DevPrakash Solutions, Dhrangadhra, Gujarat, Gujarat Government, Jaysukh Patel, Machchhu River, Morbi bridge collapse, Morbi City, Morbi Lawyers, News, Oreva Group, People, The Wire

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