The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Criminal case on cable car company
- licence bar threat on ropeway operator

Ahmedabad, Jan. 20: Forensic experts and the chief electrical inspector from the Gujarat government’s lifts and escalators department today inspected the ropeway cables in Pavagadh that snapped yesterday even as Panchmahal police registered a criminal case against Usha Breco which runs the service.

Panchmahal district police superintendent Narsimha Komar, who is camping at the accident site, said “the outcome of the criminal case will depend on the experts’ opinion”.

The Calcutta-based company’s licence could be cancelled and the operators punished if investigators find poor maintenance to be the cause of the mishap.

The toll in yesterday’s tragedy rose to eight today. The incident took place around 12.15 pm when three trolleys of the ropeway that ferries pilgrims to the Mahakali temple in Pavagadh, 50 km from Vadodara, crashed to the ground.

The state government has suspended the operation of another ropeway service Usha Breco runs at Ambaji in north Gujarat. The company spokesman’s reported statement that he suspected sabotage, not technical fault, seems to have angered the government.

“On what basis it made such a claim, we have asked the company to explain,” home minister Amit Shah told reporters in Gandhinagar.

Asked about the possible cause of the accident, Komar said he would wait for the opinion of the experts. “They are on the job. I will form my opinion on the basis of scientific study of the cause that led to the accident. Two experts’ teams have been requested to give their opinion at the earliest,” he added.

Usha Breco today announced Rs 2 lakh as compensation to the next of kin of the victims, Rs 30,000 to the seriously injured and Rs 10,000 to those who suffered minor injuries.

In a statement issued today, the company claimed that it follows a stringent system of safety checks for which it was given the international safety certificate. It claimed the company has an unblemished record of managing such ropeways for the last 22 years without a single incident.

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