At least 141 people, mostly women and children, died after a colonial-era cable bridge over a river collapsed in the western Indian state of Gujarat on Sunday evening.

The tragedy occurred in Morbi district of Gujarat, the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, around 6.45pm.

"The death toll has risen to 141, with the recovery of several bodies overnight. Over 180 others have been rescued and many of them hospitalised with serious injuries," a police officer told the media on Monday.

Over 500 people had thronged the bridge to perform religious rituals when it collapsed.

The 140-year-old bridge was repaired and reopened to the public on October 26.

Officials said that rescue operations by the Indian armed forces and the state disaster management personnel "are still on".

State Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said that criminal proceedings under the Indian Penal Code would be initiated against the private firm that carried out the renovation of the bridge.

"This is because the bridge was reopened without obtaining a fitness certificate from the local civic body," the police officer said.

Immediately after the accident, the state government was quick to accept responsibility for the tragedy and set up a five-member probe panel.

Modi also took to Twitter to condole the deaths. "I am deeply saddened by the tragedy at Morbi. Relief and rescue operations are on in full swing and all necessary assistance is being provided to the affected," he wrote.

The PM announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the family of each deceased. The Gujarat government also announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh for the family of each deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured.

Bridge and flyover collapses are not uncommon in India.

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