Privatisation is responsible for the Morbi Bridge accident


Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent


More than 140 women and men were killed and hundreds were seriously injured when the Morbi bridge collapsed on 30 October 2022. The death toll is increasing continuously and many people have been declared missing.

According to several newspapers and TV reports, 400–500 people were on the bridge at the time of the accident, which is more than three times the capacity of the bridge. According to sources, the Morbi municipality had handed over the bridge to a private company, Oreva, for 15 years for maintenance. The bridge was closed for maintenance and repair since March 2022. It was opened on the occasion of Gujarat State Day on 26 October 2022, only 5 days before the accident.

It has also been reported that the bridge was opened before its repair and maintenance were completed. Further, no fitness certificate was issued before the bridge was opened to the public. A municipal official said that before the bridge was repaired, only 25 people were allowed to enter at a time. After the repair, the capacity of the bridge has increased, but the company has not released any data regarding the number of people that can be on the bridge at one time. No arrangement was made to control the crowd, and tickets were sold beyond capacity.

The private company that was entrusted with the responsibility of repair and maintenance does not have any experience in building a bridge. Oreva manufactures watches and bulbs. According to a report published a few days ago, out of the provision of Rs. 2 crore for repairs, only Rs. 12 lakh were used. According to the preliminary report of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), the main cable of the bridge was not repaired at all: it is still rusted and has not been even greased or oiled. The bridge was opened to the public after only painting the lower part of the bridge and replacing the aluminium plates.

It is clear that the handing over of the Morbi bridge to private hands and the greed of capitalists are responsible for this accident. This experience shows that any private company works only to make profit. Once they get the contract, they grab money from the government and conclude the work shabbily.

Today, it has become common to assign regular work on contract. Even in big industries like railways, banks, and electricity, a lot of regular work is performed on contract basis. Permanent workers often say that work completed on contract basis is of very low quality. Low-quality materials are used to get the job done and save money. This has a profound impact on the safety of consumers.

The Morbi bridge accident shows clearly how privatisation risks the safety of users/consumers. We have to unite and raise our voice against privatisation. We have to work to build the solidarity of workers and consumers. Only by defeating privatisation can we avoid accidents like Morbi bridge in the future.



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