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HomeNewsWall clock, e-bike maker Oreva under scanner over Morbi bridge collapse

Wall clock, e-bike maker Oreva under scanner over Morbi bridge collapse


Amid the Morbi bridge collapse in which 139 people have lost their lives, Oreva group which is specialises in CFL bulbs, wall clocks and e-bikes has come under the scanner. While it is not known how Oreva happen to get a contract to maintain an over 100-year-old bridge, it is alleged that the bridge, which was being renovated for the past seven months, reportedly opened without a fitness certificate – i.e., Oreva allegedly did not submit renovation details and a quality check report.

Soon after the suspension bridge collapsed in Morbi of Gujarat, a company spokesperson said that the bridge collapsed as “too many people in the mid-section of the bridge were trying to sway it from one way to the other.” Some eyewitnesses, too, have said that some boys, as young as 25, were trying to shake the ropes, just before it came down.

The company has remained unreachable for comments.

Meanwhile, police have arrested four persons and filed a case against firms tasked with the maintenance and operation of the British-era structure as part of a criminal investigation into the tragedy that has shocked the country.

WHAT HAPPENED IN MORBI?

At least 139 people died and over 100 were wounded after a British-era bridge collapsed into the Machchhu river in Morbi, located around 300 km from the state capital Gandhinagar, sending people plunging about 10 metres (33 feet) into the water. It was crammed with people when it collapsed around 6.30 pm on Sunday.

The bridge had been closed for seven months and was reopened just five days ago after “extensive” repairs and renovation on Gujarati New Year’s Day on 26 October. In March 2022, Oreva group was awarded the contract to maintain and manage the bridge by the Morbi municipality.

It is alleged that the bridge was opened without a fitness certificate from the company.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT

CCTV footage from just before the collapse showed a group of young men taking photos while others tried to rock the suspension bridge in Morbi from side to side, before they tumbled into the river below as the cables gave way.

A survivor of the Morbi bridge tragedy has said that around 15-20 boys were shaking the bridge intentionally. Recalling the harrowing moment when the suspension bridge collapsed, the injured survivor said he caught hold of the shrubs when the bridge came down and climbed up, and so did several other people.

“It happened around 6.30 pm. Some 15-20 mischievous young kids were shaking the ropes of the bridge. Three times a noise came from it before it collapsed,” said Ashwin Mehra, a survivor.

THE OREVA GROUP

The Ahmedabad-based group through its flagship firm Ajanta Manufacturing Pvt Ltd is also present in business segments including lighting products, battery-operated bikes, home appliances, electrical accessories and electronic items such as telephones, calculators and LED TVs among others.

Starting as a manufacturer of wall clocks under Ajanta Transistor Clock Manufacturing Company, the Morbi-based Oreva group diversified into new verticals.

Oreva group, operates one of the largest manufacturing plants in India at Samakhiyali, Kutch District, Gujarat, which is spread over 200 acres of land.

(With agency inputs)

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