Power plant roof collapses, 13 hurt
The roof of an under-construction pump house at a proposed power plant site in Rajshahi collapsed yesterday afternoon, leaving at least nine workers injured.
Fire service officials said they did not find any worker trapped under the debris of the building.
The nine injured, admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, were rescued from the rubble of the broken down roof. Two of them were in critical condition. Four others took first aid.
The 50MW power plant at Katakhali under Poba upazila is being implemented by the Power Development Board (PDB) at a cost of Tk 317 crore. It was supposed to begin production in April as almost 80 percent work was done, officials have said.
The incident took place at 4:00pm when the construction workers were carrying out casting work of the roof with vibrator machines, said Enamul Haque, executive engineer of Rajshahi PDB.
He said around 60-70 people working at the time. But the number of injuries was few since the workers were either on the makeshift stairs or around the construction site.
The entire roof gave way and a number of workers could have been trapped under the debris, said Mahbubul Islam, a rescue officer of the Fire Service and Civil Defence.
After searching the place, the officer at 10:30pm said the rescue team did not find anyone trapped. As the roof collapsed slowly, many workers managed to come out, he added.
He said the rescue work started at 4:20pm. Fire service men and police assisted by locals carried out the operation.
Enamul explained that the shuttering equipment used in construction work to hold back the ceiling was not strong enough. Moreover, the job was being done by the workers themselves -- without any supervision by contractors.
Asked whether he had learnt of the irregularities beforehand, the PDB official replied in the negative and said he had heard about the collapse from his Sub-Assistant Engineer Shahriar Islam.
He said the Chinese company Dongfang Electric Corporation Limited International (DEC) was awarded the entire work of the power plant. However, the company later gave sub-contract to Bangladesh Foundry and Engineering Works Limited (BFEWL).
Although Enamul claimed Shahriar was on the spot during the accident, The Daily Star correspondent found no official present at the spot. Officials of the Chinese contractor company, residing nearby, declined to comment.
Rafiqul Islam, a supplier of labourers for power plants, said the DEC or the BFEWL was to perform the construction job. But it was being done by some local goons, including Sayeed, Borhan, Atik, Sirajul of the neighbouring Bakhrabad, Shyampur and Mirkimari areas.
He said the goons too were not supervising the construction activities.
Quoting the rescue workers, fire fighting officer Mahbubul said the iron rods used in the huge building were very thin and there were bamboo-made fences instead of nuts, bolts and steel equipment.
The beams of the building were erected the previous day whereas it was supposed to have been completed a week ago, he added.