MORBI FORMALLY mourned the death of 135 people in the Jhoolto Pul suspension bridge collapse with Minister of State for Panchayat, Brijesh Merja presiding over a condolence meeting in the Morbi municipality headquarters Wednesday even as similar condolence meetings were organised in other cities of the state and national flag was flown at half mast.
Merja and Morbi municipality president Kusum Parmar led councillors and staff members of the civic body in paying tributes to the victims at a condolence meeting organised in the headquarters of the municipality on Wednesday evening.
“Not only Morbi town and Gujarat state but entire country is deeply pained by this incident. People of the country are offering their tribute to those departed and are praying that the departed souls attain the eternal peace at the earliest,” Bhavesh Doshi, personal assistant to the municipality president said while reading a condolence reference at the meeting.
After the condolence reference was read out, those who attended the meeting sang a prayer and then observed two-minute silence to pay tribute to the victims.
First responders, who are conducting search and rescue operations since the suspension bridge across Machchhu river collapsed Sunday, also held a condolence meeting on the bank of the river on Wednesday.
A similar condolence meeting was organised in the conference hall of Morbi district collector office with collector GT Pandya leading the mourners in offering tribute.
The municipality president refused to comment on the bridge collapse saying police investigation was on in the incident. While no survivors have been found since late Monday morning, search and rescue operations continued for the fourth day on Wednesday.
When asked by The Indian Express if any person were still reported missing, Merja said, “The district collector will have this information.”
Repeated phone calls to the district collector and the Morbi district disaster control room went unanswered.
Meanwhile lawyers of the town took out a silent march under the banner of Morbi Bar Association to pay tribute to those killed in the incident. The town which had observed a voluntary bandh on Monday and had remained partially shut Tuesday opened on Wednesday.
CM pays tributes
Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel Wednesday participated in a Prarthna Sabha organised by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to pay tributes to the bridge collapse victims.
An official release stated that the programme was organised at Tagore Hall during which Ramdhun and bhajans were presented.
The event was attended by Cabinet Minister Pradip Parmar, Ahmedabad Mayor Kirit Parmar, members of legislative Assembly and office bearers of AMC. As part of the same mourning, various bureaucrats of Gujarat government held a Prarthna Sabha at New Secretariat in Gandhinagar. Top bureaucrats including Chief Secretary Pankaj Kumar participated in the prayer meeting.
Mourning in Surat
Surat Mayor Hemali Boghawala, Municipal commissioner Shalini Agrawal, Surat Municipal Corporation standing committee chairman Paresh Patel and officials of the civic body paid respects to those killed in Morbi bridge collapse at a community hall in Althan area.
BJP MLA from Limbayat Sangita Patil also attended the mourning. However, no other councillor from BJP or AAP remained present. When asked about the absence of councillors Mayor Boghawala said, “We have organized similar meetings at different zones and we hope that they will be present there.”
Leader of Opposition of AAP Dharmesh Bhanderi said, “AAP leaders and members have organized a meeting to mourn the deaths at Sarthana area.”