The final report by the special investigation team (SIT) probing the Morbi bridge collapse, which led to the deaths of 135 people in 2022, has broadly blamed the Morbi municipality chief officer and the Oreva company for various technical and administrative lapses, leading to the accident.
The report was submitted to the Gujarat government on October 9 and presented before the Gujarat High Court Tuesday. The SIT had submitted a preliminary interim report last December, with a primary finding the main cable of the bridge upstream was broken and of the 49 wires in one cable, 22 were rusted and 27 had recently broken down. The report noted that three members of the municipality (who now stand suspended) – then president, then vice-president and then chairman of the executive committee, who sign the rojkam (affairs of the day) – failed to bring the agreement signed between the Morbi municipality and Oreva before the civic body’s general board meeting for approval.
It added that the three also took “no concrete decision” on whether the municipality wanted to renew the contract.
The SIT report noted that the chief officer of Morbi municipality, Sandeepsinh Zala, was responsible for the signing of the MoU with Oreva “without proper authorisation” from the general board of the Morbi municipality and he “did not put up the agreement for subsequent approval of the board”.
Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, representing the state, told the division bench of Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha Mayee Tuesday that departmental proceedings has been initiated against the chief officer and he has also been chargesheeted.
The SIT report accused Oreva Company of several technical lapses. It said the company did not prepare a detail project report, no assessment of main cable or suspenders of the bridge were carried out, condition of pulley was not assessed and there was no documentation on the structural capacity of the deck. Neither were methodology or techniques to be adopted for repair work was studied, the report added.