The Machhu river in Gujarat’s Morbi town is now news because the most awful incident took place, on 30 October 2022. A hanging bridge after the renovation was opened to the public for which people paid money to purchase the tickets and the bridge collapsed killing many people (more than 140) and also many injured (around 100). The collapse of the bridge has raised many questions. It seems that more people were allowed than its capacity to move. Some TV channels showed many people dancing on the renovated bridge. Now the question arises why so many people were allowed to move beyond its capacity. Another important point is whether there is any ‘Cut Money’ or ‘Commission Money’ involved during the renovation as in our country this is found in many cases. In this regard by saluting a brave police officer of West Bengal, I wish to mention that one Burdwan police officer-in-charge, Sandip Sen made a comment while inaugurating a Kali Puja on 26 October 2022 in West Bengal. He mentioned that “to build a new road… a contractor usually aims for a 40 percent margin at best. Thereafter, he expects to pocket a further 20 percent himself. The BDO gets four percent, the OC five, and others still get five. Meaning nearly 75 percent of the call money will become cut money, so one can only imagine the quality of finished projects”(The Telegraph Online, 31/10/22).
Anyway, the saddest part here (bridge collapse) is that innocent lives were lost because of the callousness of ‘some’ people. Recent news has revealed that two employees of a firm involved in the renovation work of the Morbi bridge have been arrested. I request top officials of the Gujarat Government the main culprits should be brought into the book and they should be punished. It seems that this a ‘man-made disaster’ so our Union Government and all the State Governments should take lessons from this disaster so that innocent lives are not lost in the future.
Another ‘man-made disaster’, unfortunately, occurred in Seoul, South Korea on Halloween event on 29 October 2022 at least 154 people including a total of 26 foreign nationals were among those killed. Among the 154 dead, 26 were foreign nationals, from the United States, China, Iran, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan, Australia, Norway, France, Russia, Austria, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The event took place after three years as during COVID -19 it did not take place as restrictions and social distancing were lifted. I feel this is also a ‘man-made disaster’ as more people gathered than the capacity of the area. It is observed that tens of thousands of people flooded into the area in central Seoul to celebrate Halloween – but panic erupted as the crowds swelled, ‘with some witnesses saying it became hard to breathe and impossible to move’ (CNN Online, 31/10/2022, What we know about the deadly Halloween disaster in Seoul).
This is also a lesson to our Union Government and all the State Governments so that with proper planning ‘man-made disaster’ can be avoided i.e., more people should not be allowed to assemble than the capacity of the area. Anyway, in both cases, many innocent lives were lost. I pray to Almighty God to bestow eternal peace on the departed souls