Only 15 people were allowed at a time on the Jhoolto Pul — the bridge that collapsed Sunday — when it was built by the erstwhile king Waghaji Thakor of Morbi in 1887, according to a book put out by the Morbi municipality in 2010.
“When people walked on it, it swung so much that the user would have to be very careful. Only a limited number of persons were allowed on the bridge at a time and therefore a municipal fee of Re 1 was taken,” says the book.
The fabrication of the bridge was done by the Mumbai-based engineering company Richardson and Cruddas, which was founded in 1858.
Built in 1887 during the reign of Waghaji Thakor, who ruled Morbi from 1870 to 1922, to connect Darbargadh (palace) and Nazarbaug, the material for this bridge was imported from England. The bridge is 765 feet long and about six feet wide, according to the municipal publication.
The bridge was built when Gujarat was part of the Bombay Presidency and Morbi had an airport that Thakor built in 1880 at Rajpara for his private aircraft.
“When there was a railway workshop on the opposite bank, workers were given a monthly pass at Rs 15 to cross over… at that time there was a rule permitting only 15 persons to use the bridge at a time,” says the book, adding, “The bridge has been closed most times for want of repair.”
The erstwhile state had access to the bridge from the royal palace. Even the Howrah bridge in Kolkata or the Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh are not suspended bridges, which makes the Morbi bridge very unique, says the municipality publication.
According to the company website, “Richardson & Cruddas (1972) Ltd. is a Schedule-C CPSE under the administrative control of Ministry of Heavy Industries. It was established in the year 1858 and nationalised by an Act of Parliament in the year 1972. R&C is a heavy engineering company and 100% owned by Govt. of India. It is in the business of fabrication of various process equipments meeting the needs of Power Sector, Steel Manufacturing Plants, Railways, Oil & Gas, Fertilizers, Sugar Industries, Atomic Energy, Space, Water & Sewage Treatment Plants transmission line Towers fabrication and galvanising Testing of transmission line towers etc.”
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