11 law enforcement units in charge of different parts of Padma Bridge
A day after Padma Bridge was opened, two young men died in a motorcycle accident on the bridge on Sunday.
In addition to being branded as one of the many "firsts" in regards to the long-cherished bridge, the accident brought with it a baffling challenge: which law enforcement unit will be investigating this?
Turns out, there are as many as 11 units in charge of the 6.15-km bridge.
Starting from the structure's concrete, the water below it, the land below the water, the roads and highways on either side and the rail line running across, to the activities surrounding the mega-structure – Padma Bridge has been carved up like a fish into several jurisdictions.
After Sunday's accident, The Daily Star called the newly-opened Padma Bridge (North) Police Station. When the station was unreachable, the reporter contacted Munshiganj police.
Sumon Deb, additional superintendent of police in Munshiganj, told this newspaper that the accident happened between the 26th and 27th pillars, and therefore, it does not fall within their jurisdiction. It is supposed to be overseen by Padma Bridge (South) Police Station. Deb helpfully recommended that it be contacted instead.
The newly opened Padma Bridge (South) Police Station falls under Shariatpur district. So, when that station too was unreachable, just like its northern counterpart, our reporter called Shariatpur police.
SM Mizanur Rahman, additional superintendent of police of Shariatpur's Naria circle, said the site of the
accident is such that it does not fall within the boundaries of Shariatpur. It is under the jurisdiction of Madaripur district's Shibchar Police Station.
He too helpfully suggested that Madaripur police be contacted.
And so, Madaripur's Shibchar Highway Police Station OC Gazi Md Sakhawat Hossain was contacted. He was quick to point out that since the accident happened on top of the bridge and not on land, it has to be investigated by Padma Bridge (South) Police Station. Pillar 1 to 16 straddle Munshiganj district and are supposedly under Padma Bridge (North) Police Station.
Pillar 17 to 31 fall under Madaripur's Shibchar. From pillar 32 to 42, the land belongs to Shariatpur district. However, the span of the bridge between pillars 17 and 42 is supposed to be overseen by Padma Bridge (South) Police Station, The Daily Star was told.
However, their responsibility ends at the edge of Padma Bridge; everything below the concrete is part of the river, and therefore, under jurisdiction of River Police.
As the OC of Shariatpur's Majhirghat River Police confirmed, if anything happens underneath the section of the bridge between pillars 17 and 42, it is indeed their responsibility. For them, however, the river begins at pillar 17. The air and water below pillar 1 to 16 need to be supervised by Munshiganj's Mawa River Police.
This super-complex riddle does not end here. If any accident happens at the point where the bridge meets the highway, it is under the jurisdiction of highway police. For such incidents, the case will be lodged with the district police, while CID will investigate the crime scene.
For the Padma Bridge project, Bangladesh Army is in charge of providing all forms of technical and security support. On the other hand, if Rapid Action Battalion gets any information about a crime happening there -- on, over, under, or around the bridge -- it will be able to conduct drives if necessary.
In that case, part of responsibility falls on Rab-11, which oversees Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Narsingdi, Lakshmipur, Noakhali, Chandpur and Dhaka district's Nababganj and Dohar.
However, pillar 17 onwards, it has to hand over the baton to Rab-8, which oversees Barishal, Barguna, Patuakhali, Rajbari, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bhola, Faridpur, Gopalganj, Shariatpur and Madaripur.
The Bridge railway is supposed to be operational between March and June next year. When that happens, accident concerning the rail line will be overseen by railway police. Dhaka railway police station OC Mazharul Haque confirmed the matter. He said the rail line itself and 10 feet of space on either side of the line will be under its jurisdiction.
Until a new railway police station is established, Dhaka railway police will be in charge. Now, all that is left to consider are the air and sky above Padma Bridge.