Kalarpool Bridge in Ctg: Accident delays project completion six months
Authorities were supposed to open Kalarpool bridge in Chattogram -- which was initially planned to open in 2018 -- today, but an accident on Friday evening has delayed it for at least six months.
Three girders of the under-construction bridge over Shikalbaha canal were displaced and fell into the canal, while workers were installing them that day.
At least three workers sustained injuries in the incident and were treated at Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH), said eyewitnesses and officials of CMCH police outpost.
However, officials of Roads and Highways Department (Dohazari circle), Chattogram, which is implementing the project, claimed that only one worker sustained minor injuries.
Although officials concerned claimed that it was merely an accident, locals wanted an investigation into the incident.
"Work of the bridge was supposed to be finished by June 2018, but it has not been completed yet," said Abdur Rashid, a resident of Panchariya area. Preferring anonymity, another local wanted authorities to look into the matter.
The woes of locals started when a bridge at the location collapsed around 15 years ago, as a goods-laden barge hit it on September 18, 2007, said locals.
Thousands of people from at least six unions in Patiya upazila, including Kolagaon, Habilasdwip, Kusumpura, Dhalghat and Goirala, used to use the bridge to reach and return from Chattogram city.
Considering people's suffering, the government built a bailey bridge at a cost of Tk 3.73 crore in 2013, said sources in Roads and Highways Department. But that too got damaged on August 2, 2015.
Under the circumstances, the government initiated to build Kalarpool bridge, 184 metres long and 25 metres wide, over the canal in 2017. Rana Builders and Hasan Builders were given the contract for the Tk 26-crore project.
The project, which started in June 2017, was supposed to be completed in June 2018, said sources. Meanwhile, the builders gave Zakir Enterprise sub-contract of the project.
Contacted, Abdus Sattar Roni, general secretary of South Chattogram Passengers' Welfare Association, said thousands of people must cross the canal by boat due to delays in constructing the bridge. Emergency patients, pregnant women and students who appear for public examination are the worst sufferers.
"The authorities should pay attention to complete the work of the very important bridge immediately," he said.
Mohsin-ul-Islam, manager of Zakir Enterprise, could not be contacted as he did not receive phone calls despite repeated attempts. At one stage, the phone was found switched off.
No officials of Rana Builders or Hasan Builders could be contacted.
However, Suman Singha, executive engineer of Roads and Highways Department (Dohazari circle), claimed that the incident on Friday was merely an accident.
However, the two main contractors were given show-cause notices, he said.
"Four of the five girders were already set up. When the last guarder was being installed by hydraulic jack, a pipe of the jack broke down, which displaced the girder and hit the next one, and that hit the one next to it. In that way, three girders got displaced suddenly and fell into the canal," he explained.
"It's our bad luck. We were supposed to complete the project by June 30, but the accident damaged a lot of the bridge," he said. "It would delay project for at least six months. As the rainy season has already started, we could not go for piling in the canal. We will have to wait for dry season."
Suman claimed that only one worker sustained minor injuries in the accident, who received primary treatment.
Regarding a one-year project being delayed for four years, he said he took over office two years ago and from then on work of the project gained pace.
"We warned the contractors over the delay and strictly instructed them to complete it as soon as possible," he added.