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Govt takes no responsibility for safety of public life: Negligence that caused deaths under the fallen girder is unforgivable

17 August 2022
Govt takes no responsibility for safety of public life: Negligence that caused deaths under the fallen girder is unforgivable

This kind of accident perhaps only happens in Bangladesh. On Monday, two accidents, one involving fall of a BRT girder from a crane at Uttara and the other a fire at Chwakbazar in the old part of Dhaka, rent asunder the heart of the relatives of the victims of the incidents. Of these two incidents, the fall of the girder was the most heart wrenching, because sheer neglect of the BRT project implementation authorities for the safety of people was responsible for the accident.

No, it must not be called an accident, it's just killing. There can be no word of self-defence from the relevant companies of the BRT project. First, it was obvious that the crane used for removing the girder was not strong enough to carry the load of the girder; its one side was just lifted by the weight of the girder as it fell on the hapless car carrying people of a marriage ceremony. Five people met instant death. The image of the tilted crane and
the fallen girder on the mangled car below all testifies that the crane was not fit to carry the girder load.

Secondly, the normal practice is when such a heavy load is taken from one place to another by a crane, adequate safety measures must be taken as a duty. When it is on the busy road, people and vehicular movement must be controlled. Moreover, this kind of project work is usually performed at night. But none of this was followed on Monday. Therefore, for the killing, the BRT project authorities must be held responsible. We also demand an explanation of the incident from the Communications and the Bridges Minister.

What usually happens after such an incident in Bangladesh? An investigation committee is formed; the committee submits a report but, as always, the guilty goes unpunished by bribing police and others. We have seen no justice in the incident of the fall of a girder that killed 13 people in Chattogram ten years ago.

Neglect against neglect. The accident first takes place because of neglect, but the people who neglect their duties are not punished because of the neglect of the punishing authorities. Thus, lives are lost here and there is no exercise of accountability. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered to blacklist the companies responsible for the Uttara's girder accident, but we are not sure about its outcome.

The same negligence was responsible for Monday's Chwakbazar's fire incident. Because of media criticism, authorities were forced to issue an order to remove flammable chemical warehouses from the heavily congested areas of Old Dhaka, but authorities did not ensure the enforcement of the order. For this neglect, the lives of six restaurant workers perished again. One after the other, incidents of fire are taking place and, due to presence of flammable chemicals, the number of casualties become heavy; but there is no proper response to this problem persisting in Old Dhaka.

For some days, in the wake of the current exorbitant food inflation in the country, the shocked people wondered that only the price of life does not get higher. Monday's two accidents tell us that people's lives under the present government have no value. For not caring to take obvious precautions in the case of the fallen girder the relevant high official must be sacked and prosecuted for criminal negligence.

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