28 September 2021. 10:30 p.m. Sehrin Mahbub Sadia (19) was returning home with his uncle after buying glasses. But he never returned home. On that day, Sadia fell into an open drain in the shrine gate area of Agrabad in Chittagong. Uncle immediately jumped into the drain to rescue his niece. But he failed. The fire service recovered Sadia’s body four hours after the incident.
At that time, this tragic incident created quite a stir in the country. Questions were raised about the negligence of the Chittagong Development Authority. Which leads up to the court.
The High Court issued the ruling seeking to know why Sadia’s family should not be given adequate compensation. At the same time, the court also wanted to know how many people were missing, killed and injured after falling into that drain.
The concerned were asked to give a report on this matter. The report of the District Commissioner came to the High Court. So that the issue of negligence on the responsibility of Chittagong Development Authority is also raised. The report also mentions that Sadia’s tragic death could have been avoided.
Justice Md. Mojibur Rahman Mia and Justice Kazi Md. The report was filed in the bench of Izarul Haque Akand. A copy of which is with Jago News.
According to the report, the canal is approximately 11 feet wide and 10 feet deep. As it is located next to the road and there is a box culvert at the end of the canal, the authorities needed to be more aware to prevent accidents. Besides, the Chittagong Development Authority needed to create a security fence through high walls in the places adjacent to the canal.
The report also said that movement on this road was dangerous due to rain. Sadia slipped and fell while walking on the slippery girder on that dangerous footpath. Although the Chittagong Development Authority called the incident an accident, considering the location of the drain and the flow of water, it is evident that the necessary safety measures were not taken at that place.
The Deputy Commissioner’s report also said that since Agrabad is located near Badamtali intersection, the Sheikh Mujib Road footpath is used by many people every day. And the drain adjacent to the road meets the culvert under the road, in this case it was the responsibility of the Chittagong Development Authority to protect the drain while breaking the dustbin.
Besides, it is the responsibility of the Chittagong City Corporation (CHSIC) to attract the attention of all concerned to ensure the safety of the citizens. And it was necessary to ensure security at that place through regular surveillance. Chittagong Development Authority could have avoided the accident by renovating the upper part of the drain or protecting the front part of the drain while renovating the footpath considering the location, flow and potential risks of the drain.
It is said in the opinion part of the report that none of the Chittagong City Corporation and Chittagong Development Authority have accepted responsibility for the death of Sadia. Both authorities stated that the girl accidentally slipped and fell into the drain while walking over the girder. It is also referred to as an accident.
After reviewing the location and security of the drain at the scene, it can be seen that there were dustbins and walls of the city corporation on the road adjacent to the drain at the accident site. It was acting as a safety net. But the Chittagong Development Authority demolished the dustbin while working on the ‘Elevated Expressway Construction’ project from Lalkhan Bazar to Shah Amanat Airport.
There, sidewalk work has been done on the side of the road, but no sidewalk work has been done on the upper part of the canal and no safety fence has been constructed by the Chittagong Development Authority.
No slabs have been installed or renovated above the drains in the footpaths. As a result, an area approximately 11 feet in length and three feet in width is exposed, which increases the risk of falling into the drain. In this case, if someone walked straight through the sidewalk and did not notice the part of the drain or walked along the sidewalk in the dark, there was a possibility of falling easily.
As a result, one had to walk down the sidewalk to the street when approaching the drain, or walk over the one-foot-wide wheel guard barrier, which was extremely risky. And while walking over the wheel guard barrier, Sadia slipped and fell into the drain.
The petitioner’s lawyer Advocate Md. Shahinuzzaman told Shaheen Jaga News that the report sent by the Deputy Commissioner has been filed in the High Court. The report was recorded by the court. There will be a hearing and order on this later.
Earlier, the High Court had issued a ruling on December 5 last year, seeking to know why Tk 10 crore compensation would not be given to Sadia’s tragic death. Besides, the rule asked why not taking adequate safety measures for pedestrians during any developmental work should not be declared illegal.
At the same time, Chittagong District Commissioner was directed to submit a report on the actual situation where Sadia died, whether the authorities were negligent or not.
On the instructions of the High Court, the Chittagong District Commissioner constituted an investigation committee headed by the Senior Assistant Commissioner of his office, Tanveer Hasan Chowdhury.
Meanwhile, the writ was filed by Zahid Uddin Belal, uncle of the deceased student, Barrister Anik R Haque on behalf of Law and Arbitration Center (ASC) and CCB Foundation.
In the writ, the Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government, Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Chittagong Divisional Commissioner, Chittagong City Corporation, Chairman of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) and the related parties have been made defendants.
Barrister Aneek R Haque presented the writ in the concerned bench of the High Court. Advocate AM Jamiul Haque Faisal, director of CCB Foundation, was also present.
Earlier on October 19, the Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Md. added the report published in various media on behalf of the CCB Foundation. Abdul Halim and Advocate Ishrat Hasan sent legal notices to the concerned. It was informed that if action is not taken within seven days of receiving the notice, a writ will be filed in the High Court seeking legal remedy.
Meanwhile, the city dwellers are angry at the death in the canals. They say this tendency to avoid liability proves there is no coordination among the service agencies.