A matter of serious concern
The collapse of a giant concrete girder of an under-construction flyover at Bahaddarhat in Chittagong Friday noon is indeed a matter of grave concern. According to a New Age report on Saturday, the girder, 130 feet in length and seven feet in width, fell on a rickshaw crossing the area with two passengers on board. Fortunately, it left no serious casualties other than smashing the rickshaw and causing minor injury to its puller apparently as traffic was thin due to it being a weekend and, especially, jumma prayers—during which larger number of Muslims generally gather at mosques—when the accident took place. Not unlikely, as the road usually remains busy on a working day, the collapse of the massive concrete structure could have led to a wider range of damage and casualties had it taken place on such a day. It may be pertinent to mention here that the flyover is being constructed by two private organisations at a cost of Tk 1.06 billion funded by Chittagong Development Authority in a bid to ease traffic congestion in the port city. Moreover, CDA has formed a probe body headed by the director of the project concerned regarding the incident which was first scheduled to submit its report within 24 hours of the incident and later given two more days to do so. Hopefully, the body will be able to find out the actual factors behind the accident within the stipulated time.
While investigating the matter, however, the probe body is well advised to look into the allegations, raised by the people—who rushed to the spot immediately after the incident and most of whom are supposed to be the regular eyewitnesses of the ongoing construction work that began in December 2010, that the accident might have been attributable to the poor quality of the work. To be precise, as quoted in different media, they have categorically referred to use of substandard materials in the structure by the contractors. After all, once in operation, hundreds of motor vehicles carrying a huge number of passengers are likely to use the flyover. As such, below standard quality of work may result in a serious accident, unlike the one at hand, invariably involving a huge loss in terms of not only public resources but also human lives.
Meanwhile, the top brass of CDA need to ensure that, once submitted, the probe report will not gather dust. It cannot be denied that such sort of incidents usually gave rise to a hue and cry followed by formation of investigation committees in the past, unfortunately though, only to get buried into oblivion later. Either way, as the manager of the state, the government needs to play the key role in completing the task—be it the construction of the flyover or making findings of the probe report a reality—properly.
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