Oreva group, which is under scanner following the collapse of a suspension bridge at Morbi in Gujarat that killed at least 130 people, specialises in CFL bulbs, wall clocks and e-bikes and it is not known how it managed to get the contract to maintain an over 100-year-old bridge.
Founded by Odhavji Raghavji Patel nearly five decades back, the firm manufactures wall clocks under the popular Ajanta and Orpat brands.
Patel, who died earlier this month at the age of 88 years, was a science teacher at school before turning an entrepreneur at the age of 45 years in 1971.
Morbi bridge tragedy: Gujarat Government puts death toll at 132The bridge was crammed with people when it collapsed around 6.30 pm on Sunday
With a turnover of nearly ₹800 crore, the Ajanta Group now manufactures home and electrical appliances, electric lamps, calculators, ceramic products and e-bikes.
The suspension bridge, popularly called the 'jhoolta pul', over the Machchhu river was closed seven months ago for repairs and reopened on Gujarati New Year's Day on October 26.
In March this year, Oreva Group was awarded the contract to maintain and manage the bridge by the Morbi municipality.
It is alleged that the bridge was opened without a fitness certificate.
While the company management was unreachable for comments, a group spokesperson soon after the accident had reportedly stated that the bridge collapsed as "too many people in the mid-section of the bridge were trying to sway it from one way to the other."
The Ahmedabad-based group through its flagship firm Ajanta Manufacturing Pvt Ltd is also present in business segments including lighting products, battery-operated bikes, home appliances, electrical accessories and electronic items such as telephones, calculators and LED TVs among others.
Started as a manufacturer of wall clocks under Ajanta Transistor Clock Manufacturing Company, Morbi-based Oreva Group diversified into new verticals.
In its profile on its website, the Oreva group claims that it employs over 6,000 people but has no mention of its construction business.
Oreva, which is known in the industry for its cost advantage, sells its products through 55,000 channel partners spread across the country.
Oreva Group, operates one of the largest manufacturing plants in India at Samakhiyali, Kutch District, Gujarat, which is spread over 200 acres of land.
In the lighting segment, after scaling its CFLs, Oreva diversified into LED Lighting Products and is one of the largest manufacturers in India.
The company, a leading player in the wall clock segment, also entered into the digital clocks segment.