Morbi Bridge: How I Contributed to a Life-Saving Policy After 135 Died

It was a usual Sunday. It was 30th October 2022. Most people in Gujarat were busy loitering around or catching up with families and friends. But this was different for hundreds of people who chose to picnic at the newly opened Morbi suspension bridge.

I was shocked when the news of the tragedy came in. The death toll kept rising. At least 135 people died after this bridge collapsed. Around 500 people, including women and children, were on the suspension bridge when the cables supporting it snapped. As per the officials, the bridge could take the weight of only about 125 people. The bridge reopened on 26th October 2022.

I was furious. I wanted to channel this energy for a long-term impact. I started a petition on the next day, asking to ban the contractor and order regular safety audits of all the bridges and flyovers in Gujarat. There was widespread outrage and demands for action. My petition gained significant support from people across India and garnered media attention, increasing pressure on the government to take action.

I had raised many questions that kept bothering me. I wanted to know why the bridge, which had been shut for seven months for repairs, was reopened on the Gujarati New Year without a fitness certificate from the civic authorities?! As per the contract, 8-12 months were required for maintenance. However, the bridge was opened in 5 months only. Very conveniently, yet again, the public was being blamed for these deaths. When will we blame the culprits and fix our system’s accountability issues? What is the price the working class of this country needs to pay to enjoy a short break or to access the limited areas for recreation? As an individual paying hefty taxes, how okay is it if I feel unsafe and underconfident using public infrastructure? How long will we wait to take strict measures and ensure quality checks?

My questions resonated with more than 15,700 people from across the country. I received support and backlash alike. I was invited to national television panels, and local newspapers discussed my petition. I sent emails and tweets to the decision makers like the Chief Minister, the Home Minister, and everyone with the power to decide. I recorded appeal videos and actively engaged with the issue on social media. I kept posting updates on my petition. Small steps were being taken, and the High Court demanded strict action. During one of the hearings, the bench directed the government to maintain a register of all the “public structures” and give a list mentioning how many of them are in the same condition.

Now that I look at this journey toward change, it was a bumpy ride. Some days there was hope, and some days, there was mere anger, frustration, and helplessness. But like they say, where there is a will, there is a way. Patience paid off. Finally, in March 2023, we achieved a policy-level change.

In a landmark boost to public safety, the Gujarat Government framed a uniform policy for the inspection and upkeep of bridges in the jurisdictions of municipal corporations and municipalities. The policy states that all these bridges will be inspected twice yearly, in May and October, before and after the monsoon. Officers of at least a deputy executive engineer’s rank shall conduct inspections and prepare a report. This kind of policy is extremely rare and often takes a lifetime to see the light of day. But it finally happened 4 months and 20 days (yes, I had been keeping count) after the Morbi Bridge tragedy.

By then, the contractor was also in jail, and the court rejected his last plea for bail. The high court also directed the company to pay ₹10 lakhs as interim compensation to each victim’s family and ₹2 lakhs to each injured person within four weeks.

I am in Iceland, pursuing a Master’s Diploma in Gender Equality Studies. It was 9th March 2023 when a friend messaged me saying, “Your hard work did not go in vain!” I rushed to check the news. My watch vibrated as my heartbeat reached 100 bpm. I cried. I shouted. My heart went out to all the people closely engaged in the tragedy. Justice had prevailed. This policy will save many lives, and we can climb the bridge to safety together! This victory is a credit to the public outcry following the tragedy. This win belongs to every citizen who raised their voice for justice, every journalist who fought with their editors to cover the story and follow up, the lawyers who filed the PIL in the High Court, and the 15,775 people who signed my petition.

I remember people questioning the power of petitions, telling me nothing would change and how the opposite parties are powerful! Some even blamed the victims, as we usually do! I want to tell them today that no step is a small one. When I launched a petition on, I was overwhelmed, angry, and sad but hopeful. I looked forward to a better tomorrow. That tomorrow is today! Change-making is challenging and, indeed, gets tiring. But when it all works out, all efforts seem worth it. I am grateful for the support I gathered for this campaign.

Check the petition here: