Gujarat’s Morbi bridge collapse toll nears 140; search continues in river

News Network
October 31, 2022

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Ahmadabad, Oct 31: The death toll in Morbi suspension bridge collapse rose above 130 on Monday, Gujarat Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi said, adding rescue personnel are looking for two persons believed missing.

“The rescue operation is in its last stage in the Machchhu river. It will be over soon,” the minister told reporters.

“As per the latest information, 132 people lost their lives in the tragedy and two are still missing,” the minister said.

The state information department said that five teams of NDRF, six platoons of SDRF, a team of Air Force, two columns of Army, and two teams of Indian Navy apart from local rescue teams were involved in the operation that continued through the night.

The over a century-old bridge, which had reopened five days ago after extensive repairs and renovation, was crammed with people when it collapsed around 6.30 pm on Sunday.

Sanghavi told reporters at Morbi, around 300 km from the state capital, that the state government has formed a committee to probe the collapse.

Eyewitnesses said there were several women and children on the British era “hanging bridge” when it snapped, plunging them into the water below.

Some people were seen jumping on the bridge and pulling its big wires, an eyewitness said, adding the bridge may have collapsed due to the “huge crowd” on it.

After the collapse, all that remained of the bridge was part of the metal carriageway hanging down from one end into the dark water, its thick cables snapped in places.

At the local hospital people formed a human chain to hold back crowds and keep the road clear for ambulances which brought those rescued.

Sanghavi said a five-member high-powered committee has been formed to probe the bridge collapse. It includes Roads and Buildings department secretary Sandeep Vasava and four other senior officers.

An FIR was lodged in the bridge collapse under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (intentional act causing death) and 114 (abettor present when offence committed), against whoever is found responsible, Sanghavi said.

Due to the Diwali vacation and being a Sunday, there was a rush of tourists on the bridge, a major tourist attraction.

A private operator had carried out the repair work of the bridge for nearly six months before it was reopened to the public on the Gujarati New Year Day on October 26.

It was opened to the public after the completion of the renovation work. But the local municipality had not yet issued any fitness certificate (after the renovation work), an official said.

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel reached the accident site late in the night and also met those injured at the civil hospital.

The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

The National Disaster Response Force rushed three teams to Morbi district.

Following the accident, Modi has cancelled his road show, scheduled to be held in Ahmedabad Monday ahead of the state Assembly polls, BJP sources said.

A "page committee sammelan", scheduled to be held on Tuesday in Modi's virtual presence, has been put off, they added.

Congress said its Parivartan Sankalp Yatra that was to be taken out from five zones across the state on Monday has been postponed by a day following the bridge collapse.

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News Network
November 14,2022

Hindutva ideologue and Kannada writer S L Bhyrappa released ‘Tipu Nija Kanasugalu’, a book authored by Rangayana director Addanda C Cariyappa, at Vanaranga on the Rangayana premises in Mysuru on Sunday.

The book release programme was held amid tight police security as many historians and non-communal Kannadigas have been opposing the book, which demonises the Tiger of Mysore who died in the battlefield fighting against the colonial forces.

Each person was allowed to enter the venue only after a thorough security check.

Bhyrappa claimed that it is evident from historical records that Tipu was against Kannada.

“Several Persian and Parsi terms still exist in the revenue department. Attempts to change names of villages are also proof to that,” he said. 

Hardling Hindutva activist and former chairman of BJP government sponsored textbook revision committee Rohith Chakrathirtha, BJP MP Pratap Simha and activist Vadiraj were present.

The book is published by Ayodhya Publications and it has a prelude by Bhyrappa and back page content by Chakravarthy Sulibele. 

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News Network
November 25,2022

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Mangaluru, Nov 25: In yet another attempt to deepen the communal divide in coastal Karnataka, the Hindu Jagaran Vedike has put up a banner at the entrance of Kukke Sri Subrahmanya Temple in Dakshina Kannada district barring non-Hindu traders from conducting business in the premises during the Champa Shashti festival. 

Champa Shashti Mahotsava, which began with a Sheshavahana Bandi Utsava on Monday (November 21), will continue till December 5, and the Champa Shashti Maharatotsava will be held on Tuesday (November 29).

The banner reads: “Business activities by people from other religions are banned in this premises during the Kukke Subrahmanya Champa Shashti festival.”

Besides the banner, the HJV Kukke unit has also written to the temple management committee, asking it to take “necessary action” to stop non-Hindu traders from conducting business during the festival.

Hariprasad K, HJV member, in the letter to the temple management, said: “As per the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, people from other religions should not be allowed to conduct business during the festival. The sanctity of the temple should be protected, and law and order maintained. ”

Mohanram Sulli, president, temple management committee, said the management has been following the rule and non-Hindu traders are anyway not allowed to conduct business on the temple premises.

“We do not have an option under the law to allow people from other religions to conduct business within temple limits,” Sulli said. “As per the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, we can neither lease properties, nor execute a tender to persons from other religions. We have been following the rules.”

Asked to comment on the letter written by the HJV, Sulli said that the temple committee need not adopt any additional resolution, as the law itself is specific and sufficient.

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News Network
November 21,2022

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Bengaluru, Nov 21: At least 48 vehicles were damaged in a road accident resulting in a pile-up of vehicles on a bridge in Pune on the busy Pune-Bengaluru Highway on Sunday. 

The accident was reportedly caused by a speeding tanker ramming into multiple vehicles on the highway. Local media reports said that the brakes of the tanker had failed, which made it collide with other vehicles. Oil spilled on the road after the accident, making it slippery and leading to more collisions.

Dozens of injured persons have been shifted to local hospitals. According to the information reaching here, the accident took place on the Navale Bridge.

Top officials of Pune Police, Pune Municipal Corporation, and Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) reached the spot, and rescue operations were in progress. 

“There has been an unfortunate accident in Pune. The necessary help is being rendered” Baramati MP Supriya Sule said. “The injured would receive the necessary treatment,” she said.

 “There has been an unfortunate accident on Navale Bridge on Pune-Bengaluru Highway. Rescue teams from Fire Brigade and PMRDA are on spot and tending to those injured. I request citizens to not share unverified forwards and also refrain from visiting the spot and interfering with trained professionals,” Shivajinagar MLA Siddharth Shirole said. 

The incident has led to a massive traffic jam on the Mumbai-Satara route which connects to Karnataka. 

Locals have rushed to the spot and are speaking to occupants of each and every vehicle about their well-being. 

While there is no official word about the cause of the incident, reports said that the brakes of a truck/container failed resulting in the pile-up which included SUVs, cars and autos. 

Photos and videos of the incident that is going viral reveal that some vehicles were damaged badly. 

A huge crowd has assembled on the highway. 

The Sinhgad police are looking into the issue. “An uncontrolled truck was responsible for the incident,” a police official said. 

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