Four workers died and three others were critically injured when a culvert they were demolishing collapsed on them in Gazipur yesterday. Three of the deceased were from Sherpur district. They are Holu Mia, 50, of Andaria village, Abu Bakar Siddiq, 35, of Nokla’s Kabutarmari and Asgar Ali, 30, of the same area. The identity of the other deceased, aged around 40, could not be confirmed.
The workers had been demolishing an old culvert at Barun Bazar under Kapasia upazila for the last six days as a new culvert would be constructed there, said Kamrul Islam, an injured worker.
As they were demolishing the top slab, the culvert suddenly caved in around 8:30am, killing the four on the spot. All the deceased were standing on the slab. Though three other workers were standing right beneath the top slab, none of them died till 8:00pm yesterday. However, two of them were critically injured and were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
The other injured — Kamrul Islam — was given first aid at Kapasia Upazila Health Complex.
Md Saber Ali, upazila engineer of Rural Transport Improvement Project, said M/s Hanif Enterprise of Faridpur district was awarded the work to demolish the 30-year-old culvert, which used bricks instead of concrete and iron rods in sidewalls, and construct a new one there.
The contractor took no safety measures for the workers, he added.
The contractor firm, however, said that they had given the demolition job to Ramzan Ali of Manikganj district on a sub-contract.
“He [Ramzan] was supposed to look after the safety of the workers. But he has fled after the accident,” said Abdul Majid, who represents Hanif Enterprise at the site.
When asked why they had not done anything for the safety, he refused to talk anymore about the incident.
Alauddin Ali, upazila nirbahi officer of Kapasia, said a five-member committee had been formed to probe the incident. The victims would be duly compensated by the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, the financier of the project told news agencies and labor rights groups present on the scene.
The bodies had been sent to Gazipur Sadar Hospital morgue, said Ahsan Ullah, officer-in-charge of Kapasia Police Station.