The operation continues on Sunday to rescue those trapped under the collapsed girders of the under-construction flyover at Bahaddarhat in Chittagong city. Photo: Prabir Das
The absence of safety measures at the construction site of Bahaddarhat flyover in the port city led to the 12 deaths in the collapse of its concrete girders on Saturday night.
A member of the probe body formed to investigate the incident said this yesterday on condition of anonymity. The five-member team led by Additional Deputy Commissioner Khaled Mamun Chowdhury found negligence of the authorities during a visit to the spot in the afternoon, he added.
The site had not been made off limits to commuters and passerby when three girders were being shifted, local people said. The authorities remained negligent though they witnessed a similar incident on June 29, in which several people escaped narrowly when a girder fell.
Abdus Salam, Chairman of the Chittagong Development Authority (CDA), declined to comment when asked why the CDA had failed to ensure public safety.
He, however, said a probe was on and three officials engaged in the flyover project -- Project Director Habibur Rahman and engineers Tanjib Hossain and Salahuddin Ahmed Chowdhury -- had been sent on temporary suspension.
Meanwhile, members of the Fire Service and Civil Defence and the army continued till yesterday rescue operations that began on the night of the incident.
A 12th body was recovered from the debris at around 11:45am and was identified as that of Chan Mia, 24, said Shahidullah, additional deputy commissioner of Chittagong Metropolitan Police. He added that there was confusion over the death toll as some bodies were found in pieces.
Another nine deceased were identified as Nasu Mia, 40, Sirajul Islam, 50, Enamul Haque, 22, Sajjad Hossain, 20, Ilias Mia, 70, Kajal Kanti Dey, 42, Mosharraf Hossain Rasel, 32, Sahabuddin, 20, and Monir Hossain, 20. The two others were beyond recognition, said Shahidullah.
At least 50 people were also injured when the three concrete girders of the under-construction flyover fell on a kitchen market.
The accident occurred when workers were shifting the girders on the flyover, said Hasanul Islam, a student of the Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, who observed the whole thing from a close distance.
At one stage, he saw one girder which was in the middle go off balance and push the other two to the roadside and adjacent pond.
Mir Akhter-Parisha, a joint venture company, has been constructing the flyover since March 2010, CDA sources said.
Engineer Subhas Barua, a communication expert, told The Daily Star that there were faults in the construction and safety measures in the project. And the CDA had failed to ensure security at the site.
After the June 29 incident, the CDA formed a probe body comprising its department officials, Subhas said, but people never came to know of the findings of that probe.
Delwar Hossain, former chairman of the Institute of Engineers, Chittagong, said that before shifting anything, the authorities should fence in the construction site. But the CDA and the construction company had not done so in Bahaddar Pukur Par where the accident took place.
No one from the construction company could be reached for comments yesterday.
Local people alleged that police had set up the kitchen market under the flyover and used to take money from shopkeepers.
But Babul Chandra Banik, officer-in-charge of Chandgaon Police Station, denied the allegation and accused the CDA of not putting up barricades around the construction site.
Sub-inspector of the police station Abul Kalam Azad filed a case last night against 25 identified people, including Project Director Habibur Rahman and the managing director of the construction company, and 10-15 others in connection with Saturday's incident, the OC said.