Rusty cables, loose bolts led to Morbi crash: Probe | India News – Times of India

AHMEDABAD: Cables holding Morbi’s signature suspension bridge were rusty, anchors broken, bolts loose, and 3,165 tickets were issued to people to cross the structure across the Machchhu river on October 30, the day it collapsed and 135 lives were lost.
These critical facts form the bulk of the forensic report presented in court, pointing to six months of shoddy repairs before the bridge was reopened for the public on October 26—the Gujarati New Year’s Day. There were around 300 people on the 765ft-long bridge when the bolts unhinged and cables buckled and snapped.
The report was submitted in a Morbi court that is hearing bail pleas of eight of nine people arrested and charges pressed against them after thedisaster. The prosecution informed the court that Oreva Group—contracted to maintain, operate and guard the bridge—had issued more than 3,000 tickets without giving a thought to how much load the old bridge could bear.
Government pleader Vi-jay Jani said: “According to the FSL report, the cables of the bridge were rusty, anchors were broken and the bolts that connect cables with anchors were loose. The municipality had assigned maintenance work to Oreva, which included repairs to maintaining cables, bolts, and anchors, not just the deck. ”
Jani said Oreva was responsible for safety and security, but it had taken no precautions such as appointing lifeguards and keeping boats on standby in the river.
It’s alleged that there was no coordination between two ticket collectors at each end of the bridge. The defence couldn’t tell the court if any directions were issued on how many tickets they could sell at atime, or if they were aware of the bridge’scapacity.
“What is crowd management and what’s your duty?”the court asked. The defence had no answer.
Opposing Oreva manager Deepak Parekh’s bail plea, the prosecution said he had subcontracted DevPrakash Solution, a Dhrangadhrabased firm unqualified to carry out repairs of such a scale. “As a manager, it was his duty to instruct the staff that the bridge’s entry should be closed after 100 tickets were sold and other people should be allowed only after those on the bridge left,” it argued.
Among the accused, three were security guards Alpesh Gohil, Dilip Gohil and Mukesh Chauhan. The prosecution said they were labourers and deputed that day to manage the crowd, although they had no expertise ortraining.
One of the guards, positioned in the middle of the bridge, had fallen into the river. He survived. The prosecution alleged that he didn’t stop people from shaking the bridge——or alert police when he came across any unruly crowd behaviour.
The Directorate of Forensic Sciences will conduct two major tests to check the tensile strength of the snapped steel cables and the amount of corrosion in terms of time. “The report would pinpoint responsibility, whether it was structure or the overcrowdingthat led to its collapse,” a source said in Ahmedabad.

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