MORBI (Gujarat): The suspension bridge on the Machchhu river in Gujarat's Morbi city which collapsed killing at least 132 people was reopened for the public just five days back after seven months of repair work by a private firm, but had not received the municipality's "fitness certificate", an official said.
The more than a century-old bridge in Morbi city, located around 300 km from the state capital Gandhinagar, caved in around 6.30 pm on Sunday when it was crammed with people.
"The bridge was given to Oreva company for operation and maintenance for 15 years. In March this year, it was closed for the public for renovation. It reopened after renovation on the Gujarati New Year day celebrated on October 26," Morbi Municipality's chief officer Sandeepsinh Zala said.
"It was opened for the public after the completion of the renovation work. But the local municipality had not yet issued any fitness certificate (after the renovation work)," he said.
An "engineering marvel" built at the turn of the 19th century, the suspension bridge was said to reflect "the progressive and scientific nature of the rulers of Morbi," as per its description on the district collectorate website.
Sir Waghji Thakor, who ruled Morbi till 1922, was inspired by the colonial influence and decided to construct the bridge, an "artistic and technological marvel" of that period, to connect Darbargadh Palace with Nazarbag Palace (the residences of the then royalty).
The bridge was 1.25 metres wide and spanned 233 metres, and was meant to give a unique identity to Morbi using the latest technology available in those days in Europe, as per the collectorate website.