Flouting of rules blamed for girder collapse

Dhaka,  Wed,  20 September 2017
Published : 14 Mar 2017, 09:30:29 | Updated : 15 Mar 2017, 13:34:45

Flouting of rules blamed for girder collapse

Engineers have blamed the lack of supervision by the implementing agencies and violation of the rules for accidents like the fall of a girder of an under-construction flyover in Dhaka's Malibagh.

They say only following the Building Construction Rules correctly in such projects can ensure the safety of the workers and passersby to some extent.

A passerby was killed and two employees of the firm which is building the flyover from Mouchak to Malibagh Chowdhurypara, were injured when the girder fell off the top of a pier around 2am on Monday.

Toma Constructions is building the flyover under the Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED).

On November 24 in 2012, three girders of an under-construction flyover at Chittagong's Bahaddarhat collapsed, killing 13 and injuring scores.

Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury thinks the number of such accidents can be reduced if the contractors are forced to strengthen safety measures.

He says every big project has health and security manual and the ways to ensure the safety of the workers and the people nearby are written in the contracts and also in the building code.

"But these are not followed in most cases in our country. The contractors don't follow them in most of the projects because they are not forced to do so," he said.

The former BUET teacher says it is the duty of the agencies implementing the projects to compel the contractors to follow the rules.

In Chittagong's Bahaddarhat, Parisha Enterprise and Mir Akter Enterprise were building the flyover under the Chittagong Development Authority (CDA).

Delwar Majumder, former chairman of Engineers Institute of Bangladesh (EIB), Chittagong, alleged the Bahaddarhat accident occurred due to not following the rules.

"There was supposed to be no work on a holiday, and not even in the night. But the girders were being lifted on holiday and in the night," he said.

Delwatr also blamed the negligence of the supervisory agencies for such accidents. "They are not doing their duties properly. They try to evade (responsibility) after accidents," he said.

"The contractors naturally try to dodge duties. But the supervisory organisations - RAJUK, CDA, or LGED - all the government agencies have a trend of evading the duties. That's why the gaps in security measures get bigger, and the accidents occur," the engineer said.

He thinks it is necessary to keep safety records and review those regularly at the big projects.

"The loose ends can be tied up once those are found. Decisions to improve safety measures can be taken through review. But this process is not followed anywhere in our country," he added.

Delwar thinks there were faults in the safety measures taken at Malibagh.

"I visited the area several times. I saw that the safety precautions were not being followed correctly. There was no cautionary sign under the flyover when the work was under way over it. Moreover, I did not see any worker wearing safety shoe, helmet or belt up there," he said.

Contractor denies

Toma Construction Managing Director Ataur Rahman Bhuiyan has claimed the safety condition of Mouchak-Moghbazar flyover project area is 'good'.

"The girders are lifted after midnight by closing the street to avoid the risk. The work was under way on Sunday night in that way, but no one saw how the man came under the girder," he said.

He said the firm took all sorts f safety measures to prevent accidents.

 "It's a critical job. Engineers from our firm and LGED were there. All safety measures were taken. But the accident occurred," he said.

"We lifted 1200-1400 girders safely. Noone knows when and how the accidents occur. That girder was already lifted and fixed. It was not supposed to fall. We don't understand why it fell," he added.

Neither project director Nazmul Alam, nor LGED Chief Engineer Shyama Prasad Adhikari received phone calls for comments, according to bdnews24.com.
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