What We Know About Clock-Maker Oreva Which Caused Huge Bridge Tragedy: 10 Points

Municipal Body Chief Questioned For 4 Hours In Gujarat Bridge Tragedy Case

Oreva installed heavier flooring but did not replace a rusty main cable.

Clockmaker Oreva, which renovated the century-old suspension bridge in Gujarat’s Morbi, has been held responsible for its collapse on Sunday, four days after its reopening, and the death of 135 people. Its owners remain missing.

  1. Gujarat-based Oreva, known for making clocks, watches, fans, e-bikes and LED lights, was given a 15-year contract by the Morbi civic body to operate and maintain the bridge. Investigations have found it had no experience in repairing public infrastructure.

  2. The Oreva Group is led by Jayasukh Patel. His father Odhavji Raghavji Patel, who used to make wall clocks, founded Ajanta Quartz om 1971.

  3. Oreva had been given a contract in 2007 too, though it was unqualified for such work. The 230-metre-long structure was reopened after nearly seven months of renovations. Details of a widely shared letter reveal the company carried out “temporary” repairs on the bridge in 2020 and kept the structure open till March this year, at a huge risk to the public.

  4. Oreva allegedly wrote to district authorities that a full-fledged renovation was subject to a “permanent agreement”. The company was not ready to accept another temporary agreement after being granted term contracts since 2007 at regular intervals, the letter revealed.

  5. In court, a series of lapses in the renovation of the British-era bridge were flagged by the public prosecutor. The material used was substandard and no quality checks were done before the bridge was reopened to the public.

  6. The company installed heavier flooring but did not replace a rusty main cable. A subcontractor only painted and polished the cables, which snapped after failing to support the flooring.

  7. There was no emergency rescue and evacuation plan, no lifesaving equipment or lifeguards and no documentation of the repair work.

  8. The company opened the bridge before schedule, anticipating crowds and greater revenue during the Gujarati New Year on October 26 and the Diwali festival. The structure snapped due to excess weight when it was crowded with close to 500 people on Sunday, the court was told.

  9. Two managers of the Oreva group and two sub-contractors have been arrested. Five ticket sellers and security guards for the bridge are also in jail. But Oreva’s bosses remain missing – they are not named in the police case.

  10. One of the Oreva managers, Deepak Parekh, told the court: “It was the will of God that such an unfortunate incident happened.”

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