8 accidents, same spot, same day!
Sixty-five-year-old Kulsum left her home at Postogola yesterday morning to visit her ailing sister living in Shyampur. She, accompanied by her niece Jahanara, took a rickshaw, which got on Postogola-Chashara road, a thoroughfare full of potholes.
Due to the previous day's downpour, the potholes were covered with knee-deep water yesterday, the day when it happened.
The vehicle carrying Kulsum and Jahanara slipped into one of the potholes and turned upside down. The accident left both the passengers and rickshaw-puller severely injured.
"I don't like going out of my home because of my illness. But my sister's condition is much worse, which is why I had to see her. Now I have a head injury from the accident," said Kulsum, who eventually had to return home without seeing her sister.
During a visit to the area around 11am yesterday, this correspondent found a rickshaw-van puller loading his vehicle with pieces of wood. "One of our rickshaws turned upside down while going through this road, and the wheels got damaged," said rickshaw-van puller Abdus Sabur.
"We had taken a fare of Tk 300, but now, we have to spend Tk 1,000 to repair our vehicle," he added.
These are not isolated incidents. Five other auto-rickshaws, rickshaws and rickshaw-vans turned upside down, after slipping into the potholes. All these incidents occurred in the morning, on the same day.
According to Md Jasim Hawladar, a nearby tea-stall owner, at least eight accidents occurred within a few hours in the morning. "I rushed to help every time," he said.
"There are potholes at different points on the road. They get obscured under ankle-to-knee deep water, which collects here even after a drizzle," he added.
Md Selim, a local resident, said he comes across accidents regularly, especially after rain. It prompted him to take an initiative to pump out water from the road with the help of a motor.
According to Selim, it takes around two hours to pump away rainwater with the motor.
Anik Sarkar, a van driver, said it is very tough to drive on the road, especially through Ali Bahar point, as there is always traffic congestion due to the road's poor condition.
"We have been repeatedly complaining to Dhaka South City Corporation to repair the road, but to no avail," said traffic sergeant Md Ramzan Munshi.
"We have to deploy two traffic police officers at this point to prevent accidents," said Ramzan.
Contacted, Harunur Rashid, executive engineer of the city corporation (DSCC), said the road is not under DSCC's jurisdiction and is maintained by Roads and Highways Department (RHD).
Shamim Al Mamun, executive engineer of RHD (Dhaka), said the road at this point faces this condition due to waterlogging. Water often overflows from drains of adjoining areas, as vehicles from nearby factories and shops clog the drains.
According to him, the drains there are supposed to ensure smooth flow of rainwater, but water from nearby areas pose a problem, and that's what causes most of the waterlogging.
"We are going to turn it into a six-lane road. A project proposal has already been prepared," said Shamim.
Under the project, a concrete road will be constructed, with drains on both sides to solve the waterlogging, and they will continue to repair the road and maintain the drains to keep the thoroughfare usable, he said.