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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Morbi municipal body chief questioned for 4 hours, agreement with Oreva group under scanner

The municipal body chief of Gujarat’s Morbi, where the suspension bridge collapse killed 135 people on Sunday, was questioned by the police for four hours on Wednesday. 

Chief Officer Sandipsinh Zala was questioned and asked to verify the documentation related to the contract with Oreva group. As per reports, one of the important questioned the police asked Zala was whether during the signing of the agreement, they had determined how many people the 150-year-old bridge can hold without comprising safety. 

The Indian Express quoted sources saying that Dev Prakash Foundation Limited, the company engaged by Oreva to restore the bridge, owned by  father-son duo of contractors, Prakashbhai Laljibhai Parmar (63) and Devangbhai Prakashbhai Parmar, did not undertake any “scientific assessment of structural stability.”

Zala had earlier said that the firm did not get fitness certificate before inaugurating the renovated bridge, which reopened after seven months on October 26, just four days before the incident took place. He also said that the firm had not run “any tests or assessment on structural stability, feasibility”.

The police have been accused of not going after the top bosses of Oreva group, including Ajanta Manufacturing Pvt Ltd, which has a huge presence in BJP-ruled Gujarat. The nine people arrested in the case are some Oreva employees and security guards who were tasked with crowd control at the bridge. 

The police, however, have denied the charges saying they are not trying to shield anyone, and are instead trying to trace the root of the agreement signed between the municipal body and a firm that had no experience for this kind of project.

Oreva Group, which is under scanner, specialises in CFL bulbs, wall clocks and e-bikes and it is not known how it managed to get the contract to maintain an over 100-year-old bridge. Founded by Odhavji Raghavji Patel, nearby five decades back, the firm manufactures wall clocks under the popular Ajanta and Orpat brands. 

Oreva’s businesses such as clock-making, harvesting water for farmers, power-saving compact fluorescent lamps and clay-thrown vitrified tiles span across 45 countries.

Oreva group has a turnover of nearly Rs 800 crore. The head of the Oreva group, Jaysukh Odhavji was honoured with the Nav Nakshatra Sanmaan Business award in 2020.

The Morbi police attributes the rushed opening of the bridge “to cash in on the Diwali and post-Diwali crowd.” The police allege that while the MoU of Morbi municipality and Oreva had decided on charging Rs 15 for tickets, the tickets were reportedly being issued at Rs 17.

Nilesh Desai
Nilesh Desaihttps://www.TheNileshDesai.com
The Hindu Patrika is founded in 2016 by Mr. Nilesh Desai. This website is providing news and information mainly related to Hinduism. We appreciate if you send News, information or suggestion.

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