Morbi bridge collapse: India PM Modi to visit siteon November 1, 2022 at 5:04 am

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PM Narendra Modi is set to visit Morbi, the site of a bridge collapse that has killed over a hundred people.

The bridge collapse in Gujarat killed more than 100 peopleImage source, Reuters

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit Morbi district in the western state of Gujarat where a bridge collapse has killed 141 people.

The 140-year-old pedestrian bridge collapsed into the Machuchu river on Sunday, days after it reopened after being shut for repairs.

Search and rescue operations on the river have resumed on Tuesday.

Nine people have been arrested. They include employees of a firm contracted to maintain the bridge.

The 230m (754ft) bridge on the Machchu river was built during British rule in the 19th Century. The bridge was a major local tourist attraction and reopened only last week after being shut for months for repairs.

Reports said that several hundred people were on the bridge when it collapsed at around 18:40 India time (13:10 GMT) on Sunday.

Eyewitnesses described scenes of chaos as people clung on to the wreckage, waiting for rescue teams to save them. Others tried to swim to the banks of the river.

Officials said that many among the victims were women, children and elderly people.

Police, military and disaster response teams were deployed to carry out rescue operations while hundreds of locals too joined in the search for survivors.

Gujarat is the home state of Mr Modi, who has announced compensation for the families of victims. He said he was “deeply saddened by the tragedy”.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a ceremony to thank the Union Council of Ministers for their contribution in India's general election at BJP headquarters in New Delhi on May 21, 2019.

Image source, Getty Images

Authorities have promised a full investigation. Questions are being raised about whether safety checks were done before the bridge was reopened.

Police investigating the disaster say the nine people arrested are all associated with Oreva group, the firm contracted to maintain and operate the bridge.

They include two managers, two ticket clerks, two contractors and three security guards for negligence leading to the tragedy.

They are being investigated for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, senior police officer Ashok Kumar Yadav said.

The firm has been accused of multiple lapses, including its alleged failure to get a fitness certificate from the municipality.

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