Morbi: At least 130 people have died after a cable-over-bridge over the Machhu river collapsed in Gujarat’s Morbi on Sunday evening, officials said.

The bridge was reopened to the public four days ago after a private company carried out repair work for seven months. However, the bridge was yet to get the municipality’s “fitness certificate”. The over a century-old bridge in Morbi town was packed with people around 6.30 pm.

Sandeepsinh Zala, chief officer of Morbi municipality, said that private contractor Oreva was entrusted with the repair worker for 15 years. In March this year, it was closed to the public for repairs. It was reopened after repairs on Gujarati New Year’s Day on October 26.”

“It was opened to the public after the repair work was completed. However, the local municipality had not yet issued any fitness certificate (after repair work).”

“It was an ‘engineering marvel’ and the cable bridge was built to reflect the ‘progressive and scientific nature of the rulers of Morbi’,” according to the description of the bridge on the district collectorate’s website.

Sir Waghji Thakor ruled Morbi till 1922. He was inspired by colonial influence and decided to build the bridge which was an ‘artistic and technological marvel’ of the time.

According to this, the purpose of the construction of the bridge was to connect Darbargarh Palace with Nazarbagh Palace (residence of the then royal family).

According to the collectorate website, the bridge was 1.25 metres wide and its length was 233 metres. According to this, the purpose of this bridge was to give Morbi a unique identity using the latest technology available in those days in Europe.

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