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Prez, PM grieved over Gujarat bridge collapse death

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New Delhi: Several top leaders including President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed grief after a bridge collapsed in Gujarat’s Morbi city on Sunday claiming at least 60 lives.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi appealed to all party workers in the state to extend every possible assistance in the rescue work.

However, some Congress leaders slammed the BJP over the incident with Randeep Surjewala terming it a “man-made tragedy.”

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh asked if the incident was an “act of God or an act of fraud” while alluding to a phrase that Prime Minister Modi had reportedly used at a rally lampooning the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal after the Vivekananda Road flyover collapsed in Kolkata on March 31, 2016, killing many.

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar prayed for the safe rescue of all.

“Distressed to hear about the tragic incident in Morbi, Gujarat. I pray for the safe rescue of all and the speedy recovery of those injured. My thoughts are with the affected families,” the Vice President Secretariat said in a tweet quoting Dhankhar.

Prime Minister Modi announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the families of each of those who died in the incident, his office said.

Expressing sadness, Modi, in a tweet said he has spoken to Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and officials. “Relief and rescue operations are going on in full swing and all necessary assistance is being provided,” the prime minister said.

President Murmu, in a tweet, said, “The tragedy in Morbi, Gujarat has left me worried. My thoughts and prayers are with the affected people. Relief and rescue efforts will bring succour to the victims.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party is making an all-out effort to dislodge BJP from power in the poll-bound state, tweeted, “Very sad news coming from Gujarat. Many people are reported to have fallen into the river after a bridge collapsed in Morbi. I pray to god for everybody’s life and well-being.”

The nearly century-old suspension bridge on the Machchhu river collapsed around 6.30 pm owing to too many people standing on it following its reopening just four days ago after renovation.

According to eyewitnesses, there were several women and children on the hanging bridge when it snapped. A fire department official said that boats were being used to rescue people from the river.

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 celebrated on October 26.

“Isn’t this a straight criminal conspiracy? How did the BJP government allow the bridge to be opened for public use without a ‘fitness certificate’,” Congress leader Surjewala asked.

Was this done in a hurry in a bid to garner votes before the model code of conduct comes into effect, he posed, adding “How was the work of repairing the bridge given to the company/trust? Do they have connections with the BJP?”

Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed sadness at the incident in Morbi. In a tweet, he said that he has spoken to the home minister of Gujarat, Harsh Sanghvi, and other officials in this matter.

“Local administration is fully engaged in relief work, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is also reaching the spot soon. The administration has been directed to provide immediate treatment to the injured,” Shah said.

The National Disaster Response Force on Sunday rushed three teams to Gujarat’s Morbi district where at least 32 people were killed after a suspension bridge over a river collapsed.

NDRF Director General (DG) Atul Karwal told PTI that the three teams have been moved from the state capital Gandhinagar and Vadodara.

Another team will be airlifted in some time and it will move via road from Rajkot to the accident site, he said.

Expressing condolences to families of those who lost their lives, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel announced Rs 4 lakh to the family of each deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured.

AAP MP Raghav Chadha said he was deeply saddened by the news of the collapse of the bridge in Gujarat. “Praying to God for all victims,” he tweeted.

CPI MP Binoy Viswam claimed that the bridge collapse incident points to the “gross negligence” of the BJP government.

“Cable bridge collapse in Gujarat points to the gross negligence of the BJP government. Its repair was said to be done five days back. Where from the contractors got this courage? The compensation needs to be increased. A reliable enquiry should take place to unveil political involvement,” Viswam tweeted.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “I am deeply concerned about the tragic bridge collapse in Morbi, Gujarat, that has cost several innocent lives and left many trapped. My deep condolences to the families and friends of the deceased. I pray that the injured have a speedy recovery.”

In a statement by the Uttar Pradesh Raj Bhavan, Governor Anandiben Patel, who has been the chief minister of Gujarat, expressed her deepest condolences over the loss of lives in the bridge collapse incident.

Chief Minister Yogi Adiityanath too expressed grief over the deaths and said, “Very sad news of a bridge collapsing has been received from Morbi in Gujarat. Praying to Shri Ram to help all the affected.”

Congress President Kharge tweeted, “Deeply saddened by the tragedy that has struck us with the collapse of the suspension bridge in Morbi, Gujarat.”

“I appeal to the @INCGujarat workers to extend every possible assistance in rescue work & helping the wounded. My condolences and prayers are with the bereaved families.”

In a tweet in Hindi, Rahul Gandhi said the news of the bridge accident in Morbi, Gujarat is very saddening. “I extend my deepest condolences to all the bereaved families in such difficult times. I appeal to all Congress workers to extend all possible assistance to the injured persons in the accident and also help in the search of the missing people.”

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Brajesh Pathak and former speaker Assembly Hriday Narayan Dixit also expressed grief.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav termed the incident “very sad and heart-breaking”, while BSP supremo Mayawati demanded strict punishment for those responsible for the incident.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann tweeted, “Sad news is coming from Morbi, Gujarat… major accident has occurred and because of which there is news of many people falling in the river.”

Haryana BJP chief O P Dhankar expressed grief and said the relief operation is underway. Former Haryana CM and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the government should undertake relief and rescue operations on a war footing.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, state BJP president VD Sharma and State Congress Chief Kamal Nath also expressed grief over the incident.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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