Bangabandhu tunnel accident, police kept as ‘silent spectators’


Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) could not take legal action even after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was involved in car racing inside the tunnel, car stunts on the tunnel road (game special where the car goes up into the void) and car accident. Because the police car has to pay toll to enter the tunnel. There is no money allocated in CMP fund to pay toll. Police are still not allowed to freely enter the tunnel due to legal complications. Police cars have to be kept outside the tunnel area.
Although there is a proposal to set up two police stations at both ends of the tunnel, it is pending in the Cabinet Secretariat. Two police outposts are under construction but not completed. Now the police are taking legal action by staying outside the tunnel area. But as the delay is happening, all the parties have to face the irony.

The tunnel was opened to the public on October 28, the day after the Prime Minister’s inauguration. Three crimes were committed in the tunnel on the opening night. Two days after the incident, no legal action has been taken. The OC of Karnaphuli Police Station said that although the tunnel authorities had informed the police verbally that they would file a case, no complaints were made until this report was written at 9 o’clock on Tuesday (October 31). Zahir Hossain said. He said, “If there is a complaint, there will be a case.” On the same subject, the sub-project director of the tunnel said. Abul Kalam Azad told daily Bangladesh, ‘Directions have been given from the highest level to take legal action regarding the crimes committed in the tunnel. In the meantime, the numbers of the cars have been identified by analyzing the CCTV footage. The officials went to the police station to talk about the case.’
However, when informed at 11:30 on Wednesday after the publication of this report in the daily Bangladesh, the OC said that ‘the case has not been filed yet.’

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Due to the opposition strike program on October 29, the traffic pressure in the tunnel was relatively light. The day passes normally, but at night, trouble occurs. A group of youths race their cars inside the tunnel, which is caught on CCTV footage inside the tunnel. Go outside on the road and do car stunts. Again, a Pajero car collided with the island of the road near the toll plaza. The owner of this vehicle has been fined Tk 10,000, said Jahangir Alam, assistant manager of the security department of the tunnel authority.
Again on Tuesday night, a video of a private car rear-ending a passenger bus went viral on social media.

The police could not immediately respond to these incidents. After the opening of the tunnel, the Karnaphuli and Patenga police station patrol teams and traffic department on both sides deputed a sergeant for law and order and traffic management of the tunnel. But the two patrol teams and the sergeant have to stand outside the tunnel area.

According to the police, two new police stations were started at Munshiganj and Shariatpur before the Padma Bridge was opened. Two police station vehicles are toll-free for the safety of the bridge. As there are two police stations under two different districts, there is no need for the vehicles of the two police stations to move from one district to the other except in very urgent cases. Still, the government ensured that system in order to keep the law and order situation of the bridge undisturbed. Similarly, cars of two police stations of Tangail and Sirajganj districts get the opportunity to cross the bridge toll free at both ends of the Bangabandhu Bridge. There, two police units of two districts got the opportunity to cross toll free, but that opportunity was not kept in the Karnaphuli tunnel.

Again Padma Bridge and Bangabandhu Bridge are connecting bridges of different districts but Bangabandhu Tunnel belongs to Chittagong metropolitan area only. Karnaphuli Thana on the eastern side of Karnaphuli River and Patenga Thana on the western side are under one unit. Therefore, in order to maintain law and order situation, traffic and police patrol cars have to travel. As traveling over the Shah Amanat bridge built on the same river. Police cars assigned to maintain law and order in the bridge area do not have to pay toll. But the toll free facility has not been introduced in the newly opened tunnel. Again, there is no government allocation in the CMP fund for the payment of tolls. As a result, the police have no choice but to stand silently outside the tunnel area.

According to the information received from the CMP, proposals for setting up a total of four police stations, including two named ‘Bangabandhu Tunnel East’ and ‘Bangabandhu Tunnel West’, were sent to the police headquarters. After scrutiny, the proposal went to the Cabinet Secretary on 13 February 2022. Even after almost 20 months, the proposal to form four police stations has not been approved.

If you want to know whether legal measures have been taken regarding the crimes committed inside and outside the tunnel, the sub-project director of the tunnel said. Abul Kalam Azad told daily Bangladesh, ‘The numbers of cars racing inside the tunnel have already been identified. The process of the case is going on in this regard. When asked about the lack of toll-free system for the police cars engaged in maintaining law and order, he said, ‘The car numbers of the two police stations at both ends have been requested. If you get the number of the car, arrangements will be made to make the toll free.’ However, the police have already given all the documents.

Courtesy: Daily Bangladesh

The article is in Bengali

Tags: Bangabandhu tunnel accident police silent spectators


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