Civic body rapped for prioritizing ticket rates

Times of India | 6 days ago | 25-11-2022 | 07:57 am

Civic body rapped for prioritizing ticket rates

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court again pulled up the Morbi municipality for ignoring the warning by Ajanta Manufacturing Co Ltd regarding the dangerous condition of the suspension bridge and for giving priority to the issue of ticket rates. On HC’s directions, the municipality filed an affidavit explaining the sequence of events about the agreements between the authorities and the company to maintain, manage, control and generate revenue from the use of the bridge. However, the court found the affidavit lacking the particulars sought on November 16. The court took Ajanta’s letter of December 29, 2021, to the chief officer of the municipality on record in which the company had stated, “Sir, you are aware of carrying out temporary repairs as the suspension bridge is in a critical condition. An accident may occur any time. We have made repeated requests to you in this regard that may be taken note of.” The municipality had replied to the company to either return the possession of the bridge or to agree on not increasing the ticket rates. On this the court said, “The tenor of the letter indicates that it (municipality) concentrated more on price of ticket rather than the condition of the bridge. In other words, the nagarpalika on January 19, 2022, seems to have ignored the warnings regarding the bridge’s condition pointed out by the company.” The court criticized both sides for prioritizing the retention of contract to manage the bridge over paying attention to its repair. The HC repeatedly asked the municipality how it permitted the company to continue to manage the bridge after the completion of the agreement in 2017. The court was told that nobody permitted it. The court was also informed that Ajanta was not authorized to outsource the repair work. When the court was informed that the bridge is a property of the municipality and the district collector first signed the agreement for its management in 2008, the HC sought explanations from both the municipality and the state government by December 12.

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