The collapse of Gujarat’s Morbi suspension bridge resulted in the loss of lives of at least 141 people including 53 children. This incident shocked everyone. Various media and social media had exposed the irregularities that took place.
But, we can’t just view this incident as just another accident or an expression of the negligence of the BJP ruled state governments. The Morbi bridge had exposed the real face of the Gujarat model, which is being posed as the role model for the whole country by the fascists. The collapse of the Morbi bridge is an act of terrorism. Even though it was not preplanned, it is a massacre; this incident is an outcome of unrestricted leasing of entire Gujarat to the corporates.
The Morbi bridge, which was built across the Machchhu River, was inaugurated by the British in 1879. Besides being used by the pedestrians, it had also emerged as a place of tourist attraction. After the 2001 earthquake, the bridge had not been renovated. The process of renovation started on March this year. The bridge had been re-opened by keeping Diwali and Chhath puja in mind. But the media reported that the bridge had collapsed as a result of overcrowding.
But, the fact is that the bridge had not been renovated. Even the rusted old cables of the bridge were left untouched; they were not even greased. The anchor pins that hold the cables on the ground were broken and the bolts on the anchor were loose. The wooden flooring was replaced with aluminum sheet and this has increased the weight of the bridge. There were no properly trained security guards. By keeping profits in mind, more tickets – capacity was 150 but reportedly 650 entry tickets were sold – and a huge crowd was allowed to enter the bridge. The bridge was opened before receiving a “fit for use” certificate. The forensic report reveals this information.
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The maintenance and restoration work was awarded to Gujarat’s Oreva Group by the Gujarat government. This group (better known as Ajanta Quartz) is one of the leading wall clock manufacturers. This group has been carrying out the maintenance work of the bridge since 2007. Recently, the contract for maintenance of this bridge was handed over to this group for another 15 years.
This corporate group had sublet the restoration contract to two other contractors. These contractors were not qualified engineers. They only carried out welding and electrical work in the bridge. Moreover, over lacks any experience in construction business. Morbi municipality had given the contract of renovation to Oreva without a tender. It was a shock that the agreement was just one-and-a-quarter page.
This Gujarat model reveals us that the Brahminical fascists did not even take into consideration that this project is concerned with the lives of the people. Their normalcy is bribery – corruption – scam.
Not only the Morbi suspension bridge, but all the sectors of the Gujarat government had been opened for the plundering of the corporates. The word ‘Gujarat model development’ indicates the gifting of all the sectors to the corporates, i.e., establishing the rampant exploitation of the corporate bourgeoisie. The tragedy that claimed the lives of almost 150 people is an expression of this. That’s why we say that this incident is not an accident; it’s a massacre.
While the negligence shown in the maintenance and the importance given to the profiteering of Oreva are on one side, the actions of the BJP – Modi mob and their mouthpiece media after the Morbi bridge incident on the other side exposes us how vicious the fascists are.
Modi, on the occasion of Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary, said “I am in Ekta Nagar but my mind is with the victims of Morbi. Rarely in my life, would I have experienced such pain. On one hand, there is a pain-riddled heart and on the other hand, there is the path to duty”. He acted tactically. On the same day evening, while speaking in an event in Banaskantha district, Modi shed crocodile tears on the stage. But he did not utter a word about the reason for the accident.
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It has been announced that Modi would visit those who were severely injured in the accident. Only then the condition of the hospital in which the injured were treated got exposed to the outside world. The hospital got a quick makeover only because of the reason that PM Modi would be visiting. The walls of the hospital were painted, new tiles were installed on the walls, and minor construction works were carried out to beautify the hospital.
That hospital did not even have the basic facilities such as drinking water, beds and bedsheets. Bedsheets had been brought from a hospital in Jamnagar, which is 160 km away from Morbi. There is no supply connection for the newly installed water cooler. In two days, 56 injured people have been discharged before the completion of treatment.
Thus many news which reached us through social media exposed the grim face of Gujarat model. The BJP – Modi mob, in order to save its vote-bank, unleashed a series of fake-news campaign. Even after all this, Modi began his election campaign with the slogan “I’ve made this Gujarat”, without any shame.
BJP is trying to win the constituency of Morbi by making the party’s ex-MLA Kantilal Amrutiya as the candidate and projecting him as ‘Morbi hero’ who saved the lives of the people during the suspension bridge accident. The Election Commission went one step further and postponed the announcement of election dates by citing the Morbi incident. The election dates were announced only after the anti-BJP sentiment had drained.
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On one side, PM Modi’s lies and dramas were broadcasted by the media. While on the other side, fake news – that the bridge got collapsed as some youths deliberately shook it – was spread.
Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, the director of Kashmir Files said, “Probe if it’s a sabotage by urban-Naxals because they are very capable of going to any extent”. The media spread all these sorts of news but remained mute on the necessity to arrest Oreva’s managing director Jaysukh Patel.
Not only the pro-BJP media in the north, Vikatan group had also reported as if the private company was the only wrongdoer and that the relief and rescue measures were going on; and that serious investigations were going on. They did not utter a word about the blatant corruption – irregularities of the BJP-Modi mob. Instead they projected Modi’s crocodile tear drama as his care for the people.
The Morbi bridge collapse had exposed the real face of development under the Gujarat model. The Gujarat model is a paradise for the dominant caste Gujarati-Marwadi-Patel-Bania corporate bosses. But it is a graveyard for the working people. This has been proved once again.