- The helper was operating the BRT crane
- No fitness check of the crane was done after 2021
- The main crane operator had no licence to drive heavy vehicles
- Unqualified personnel employed for various important jobs
It was sheer negligence that led to the crushing of five people of a family under the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project's girder in Uttara.
The anomalies behind this tragic incident, laid bare by the Rapid Action Battalion in a briefing yesterday, clearly point to apparent negligence of all parties involved with the work.
From the project contractor to its consultancy firm to the Roads and Highways Department to the Bridges Division to the Local Government Engineering Department, no one can avoid their responsibilities for the "avoidable" accident.
The crane that dropped the girder on the passenger car and claimed five lives was operated by a 23-year-old unlicensed assistant named Rakib Hossain. The usual operator Al Amin Hossain Hridoy instructed him through signals from outside, RAB Spokesperson Commander Khandaker Al Moin told the media.
It is commonplace – whenever a major accident occurs on roads and draws flak from all over the country, in most cases, an unskilled driver or helper is found to be in the driving seat.
The RAB spokesperson further said Al Amin has a licence to drive light vehicles only, not any heavy vehicles.
Al Amin had training to operate cranes in 2016 and worked on two-three construction projects afterwards. Later, he started working as a crane operator in the BRT project in May 2022. His assistant started working as a crane helper in the project three months ago but he had no training in crane operation, Khandaker Al Moin added.
Al Amin and Rakib fled the scene after the accident, he said.
RAB arrested 10 people in connection with the accident.
They are crane operator Md Al Amin Hossain Hridoy, assistant Rakib Hossain, traffic men of Four Brothers Guard Service assigned to the accident site Md Rubel and Md Afroz Mia, safety engineer of the contracting company Md Zulfikar Ali Shah, IFS CON Bangladesh owner Md Iftekhar Hossain, Head of Operation Md Azharul Islam Mithu, marketing manager of the crane supplier Build Trade Company Tofazzal Hossain Tushar, administrative officers Ruhul Amin Mridha and Md Manzoor Islam
They were arrested from Dhaka's Jurain, Jatrabari, Kalshi, Savar and Gazipur, Sirajganj and Bagerhat on Wednesday.
IFS CON, which was contracted for supplying heavy machinery for the BRT project did not have a crane, so they employed a third-party Build Trade Company to provide the crane as well as the driver, and helper on a monthly basis.
None of the companies ensured the fitness of the crane or the proficiency of the driver or helper. To cut costs, all the companies employed unqualified personnel for various important jobs.
The RAB official said safety engineer Md Zulfikar Ali Shah had no technical education. He was entrusted with the job in such a big project last year only with his SSC certificate.
Also, the fitness of the crane was last ensured in 2021, no fitness check was done in 2022, he added.
Asked why no Chinese officials on duty at the BRT project were not arrested, the RAB spokesperson said a probe committee, led by an additional secretary, is investigating the incident to find those responsible.
They arrested those who are primarily responsible or involved in this incident, he also said.
The RAB official said the project authorities should also engage law enforcement agencies in such a project. But they did not do that. The contractor company has its own security personnel, but the number is not enough.
On 15 August, a BRT-3 Elevated Expressway girder fell on a moving car killing five of a family on the spot and injuring two others.
Two passengers – a newly married couple Rezaul Karim Hridoy, 26 and Riya Akter, 19 – were rescued, but the rest of the passengers – Jharna Akter, 27, her two children Zakaria, 4, and Jannat, 6, and Hridoy's father Ayub Hossain Rubel, 55, and his mother-in-law Fahima Akter, 38, died on the spot.
A case was filed against the Chinese contractor for the BRT-3 Elevated Expressway.