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Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023
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RAJKOT: In a show of defiance, the BJP-run Morbi municipality on Monday refused to respond to Gujarat government’s show-cause asking why it shouldn’t be suspended over the October 30 bridge collapse that claimed 135 lives. The civic body said it would reply only if the urban development department gives documents supporting the charge that the body failed in its duty to pre-empt the tragedy.
“We are ready to resign but not with the blot of being irresponsible. The agreement between the municipality and Ajanta-Oreva group regarding the suspension bridge was signed as per collector’s order. When the agreement was signed, we were not in charge. Congress was running the civic body,” municipality vice-president Jaypalsinh Jadeja told TOI.
The municipality’s defiance comes less than a week after the showcause was issued, asking why it shouldn’t be dissolved for ignoring repeated communication from bridge maintenance and operations contractor Oreva Group about an accident waiting to happen if the structure wasn’t closed to the public and properly renovated.
Thirteen of the 52 councillors, all from BJP, didn’t attend the special general board meeting that unanimously resolved not to respond to the notice immediately.
“The original documents pertaining to the subject of the government’s notice have been acquired by the special investigation team. No documentary evidence has been attached (with the notice),” the resolution says.
They urged the government not to take any decision “in the interest of justice” till such time the municipality receives the documents sought and drafts an appropriate response. Jadeja also claimed the erstwhile council, too, had written to the Oreva Group to hand over the bridge to the municipality after the contract expired, but the company didn’t do so.
Jaysukh Patel, promoter of Oreva Group, applied for anticipatory bail last week amid talk of him being likely to be named as a “person of interest” in the chargesheet pertaining to the bridge collapse. He has supposedly been incommunicado since the evening of the tragedy.

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