Six workers were injured when a launching girder of the ongoing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project collapsed in front of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 10:30am on Sunday.
Three Bangladeshis and three Chinese nationals were injured in the accident. All of them are employees of project contractor China Gezhouba Group Co Ltd (CGGC).
Five of the injured are in good condition and will be discharged from hospital within a day, said Safiqul Islam, managing director of Dhaka Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Company Ltd.
Meanwhile, another girder of an under-construction flyover in the same project near the Polwel Carnation Shopping Mall in Sector 6, Uttara collapsed on Saturday night. No casualties were reported in that incident.
Top officials of the Road Transport and Highways Division, the Bridges Division and the Dhaka Bus Rapid Transit Company Ltd visited the airport spot immediately after the accident.
Safiqul Islam said no one seemed responsible in the incident of launching girder collapse during the preliminary inspection. The fire service personnel conducted a rescue operation and brought the injured immediately after the accident.
The project to create separate lanes for specialised buses across an area of about 20km from Gazipur to the airport is being implemented by three government agencies – the Roads and Highways Department (RHD), the Bangladesh Bridge Authority and the Local Government Engineering Department. Three project directors are in charge of coordinating the work of the three agencies.
The launching girder accident happened in the work area of the RHD.
Asked about the accident, ASM Elias Shah, project director of RHD, told The Business Standard that small segments of girders are made in the construction yard. Then, all these segments are brought to the construction site and lifted with the help of launching girder and turned into spans.
He said the steel girder fell due to a problem in one of its supports before the launching girder with the girder segments were brought to the specified location yesterday.
He said all the injured in the accident were engaged in setting up the segment.
An inquiry committee headed by a joint secretary of the Road Transport and Highways Division has been formed to investigate the accident.
A two-member delegation was sent to the project area by the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) of the Ministry of Planning immediately after the accident. IMED Secretary Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty said prompt punishment would be recommended against the culprits based on the report of the delegation.
Witnesses said the girder suddenly collapsed around 10:20am and several workers on top of it fell down.
They said there were not enough security and rescue materials for the people working here. There were no vehicles to transport the injured to the hospital. Besides, it took too much time to take them to the hospital due to traffic jam on both sides of the road.
The managing director of Dhaka BRT Company Ltd said there was no vehicle to take the injured to the hospital but there was no problem. They could be brought to the hospital quickly.
Safiqul Islam further said a five-member investigation committee has been formed with Anisur Rahman, joint secretary of the Road Transport and Highways Division, as its convener to identify the people responsible for the accident.
He said the committee would look into the real cause of the accident and recommend punishment if anyone found guilty.
Md Shafiqul Islam, senior official of Kurmitola Fire Station, said, "We rushed to the spot after receiving the news. The launching girder tilted to one side while installing a span there. They were seriously injured."
Officer in Charge of Airport police station Kaikobad Kazi said no case or general diary was registered over the incident.
IMED officials visited the site promptly
A delegation led by IMED Director Kazi Anwar Hossain visited the spot immediately after the accident. The head of the two-member team said the accident happened because a hydraulic jack on the launching girder was not working properly.
He said the jack was used to lift only two girders of the respective span. Apparently, the jack is new and usable. He thinks the accident was mainly due to a mechanical fault.
IMED secretary Pradeep Ranjan said the initiative was taken to inspect the site after hearing the news of the accident. He also said that if any fault is found in the inspection report, punishment will be recommended.
Flyover girder collapses in Uttara
A girder of a flyover under construction, under the BRT project, near Polwel Carnation Shopping Mall in Uttara Sector 6 collapsed on Saturday night.
On Sunday morning, workers saw that the girder on the west side of the pillar no. 22 was broken.
They said the welding work on the girder was completed on Saturday night and the workers left the spot after finishing the work. According to them, temporary poles are used to hold the girders until the welding is hard.
The Bridges Division is constructing the flyover. However, the project director of the project Md Liaquat Ali claimed that he is not aware of the accident.
The project has been going on for a decade
The project work that started towards the end of 2012 as part of the plan to finish the construction of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) by 2016 has not been completed by one third in 10 years. During this time, both the project completion tenure and cost have doubled.
Due to slow progress, the revised cost of the project has been estimated at Tk4,268.32 crore after a 109% or Tk2,228.48 crore hike from the initial estimation of Tk2039.8489 crore. Three donor agencies, including the ADB, are providing Tk2,842.51 crore in loans for the project.