Anger over £6k compensation offer for victims of India’s deadly bridge collapse, as Modi visits scene | World News


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed lessons will be learned following the bridge collapse in Gujarat that killed 135 people during Diwali celebrations.

As he visited the site of the tragedy in his home state on Tuesday, he promised a “detailed and extensive inquiry” would be launched.

The colonial-era suspension footbridge in Morbi was packed with sightseers – many in town to celebrate the Diwali and Chhath Puja festivals – when it gave way on Sunday evening, sending people plunging 10 metres (33ft) into the water.

Angered and bereaved families mourned the dead as attention turned to why the pedestrian bridge, collapsed on Sunday evening, and who might be responsible. The bridge had reopened just four days earlier.

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The moment the bridge collapsed

A police official has said about 200 people were on the bridge when it collapsed. Tickets had apparently been sold to about 400 people for the celebration event, although not necessarily to be on the bridge at the same time.

In a statement, Mr Modi said he was “deeply saddened by the tragedy”.

It added: “The need of the hour is to conduct a detailed and extensive inquiry which will identify all aspects relating to this mishap.

“The key learnings from the inquiry must be implemented at the earliest.”

Rescuers conduct search operation after a suspension bridge collapsed on Sunday, in Morbi town in the western state of Gujarat, India, November 1, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Rescuers continue to conduct search operations as at least one person is still missing

However, protesters have been gathering in the capital New Delhi demanding compensation for the victims’ families. They want two million rupees (£21,000) for the injured and for the relatives of those killed. So far, the state and central governments have offered 600,000 rupees (£6,100).

‘Crocodile tears’

One demonstrator shouted: “The country is angry today that around 150 people have died in Morbi, but this government did nothing apart from shedding crocodile tears.”

Built during British colonial rule in 1877, and touted by the state’s tourism website as an “artistic and technological marvel”, the bridge – 233 metres in length and 1.25 metres wide – had been closed for six months for repairs until last week.

An official day of mourning was declared for Gujarat on Wednesday.

Rescuers sit on boats as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, above, looks at a cable pedestrian bridge that collapsed Sunday in Morbi  

Officials say 152 people involved in the incident have now been discharged from hospital, while 17 are still undergoing treatment.

CCTV footage showed a group of young men trying to rock the bridge from side to side while others took
the photos before they tumbled into the river below as the cables gave way.

Police arrested nine people on Monday for allegations including “culpable homicide, not amounting to murder”.

Those arrested included ticketing clerks accused of letting too many people on to the bridge and contractors that had been in charge of repair work.

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping were the latest to send condolences for the loss of lives, many
of whom were children.


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