Accidents at flyover construction site

Dhaka,  Mon,  24 April 2017
Published : 15 Mar 2017, 20:57:20
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EDITORIAL

Accidents at flyover construction site

Frequent accidents, some of those of similar nature, causing deaths and injuries at the construction site of the Maghbazar-Malibagh flyover is a clear indication of gross compromise with safety rules on the part of the construction companies. Even a High Court (HC) order issued last year could not move the builders to take adequate safety measures. Monday night saw the worst accident there involving the collapse of a girder, in which one construction worker was killed and an engineer, along with a driver of a concrete mixer truck, was injured. Both of them ended up with losing a leg following operation in a hospital. When a girder as long as 36-metre and as heavy as 70 tonnes come crashing at the time of pulling it up or placing on piers 20-metre high, construction authorities must, of necessity, follow the maximum precaution and all possible safety rules and regulations listed in the civil engineering manual. 

Clearly, the responsible companies have failed to do so. For this is not the first time that a girder has fallen. Another girder fell during its installation last month. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed then. This is no guarantee that every time a girder fall will be casualty-free. Last month's girder collapse should have put them on high alert but it is evident that the men responsible for safety of life at the site have not learnt any lesson from such accidents. These are accidents with the potential danger of annihilating a far greater number of lives. A girder collapse at Bahaddarhat, Chittagong killed at least 13 people and left scores injured. Also the fall of heavy iron rods on a construction worker from the flyover killed a construction worker. When such events occur repeatedly, they are no more accidents but plain murder. The HC took cognisance of the matter not for nothing. For the construction companies, however, the old habits die hard.

In fact, many of their moves and performances are suspect right from the beginning. Not only have they failed to maintain work schedule, their repeated rescheduling has led to extra expenditure for the exchequer. Even a gross design mistake was detected halfway. There are even complaints that the descending points at the Satrasta and Maghbazar end have been completed abruptly without the provision of gradual elevation. This, some allege, cause accidents. That a prison van and a bus turned turtle at those points may corroborate the fact. But this may as well be the fault of drivers. Expert opinions would be required to confirm whether there is a faulty design at those points. If confirmed, vehicles using the flyover will always run the risk of meeting with accidents. 

Since the builders of the flyover have not paid heed to the HC order, they should be held accountable for the culpable crime. The loss of life is not deduction of a number. In this country, accidents are not always accidents because many of those are avoidable. There is not much difference between a casual approach to safety rules and regulation and committing a murder. No monetary compensation is enough for life that perishes because of others' negligence. Yet such compensations can at least save a family from utter ruination. So there is need for punishing the responsible for such murders so that the punishment becomes a deterrent on the one hand, and making them pay as much compensation as possible to the families of the victims, on the other.            

 
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Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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