Four people have died in three months after falling into the open drains
The citizens of Chittagong city have found a wall built over the open sewage drain into which a young woman in her twenties fell and died three days ago, but no one knows who built it.
The Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) claims that the Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) constructed the wall that has narrowed the sidewalk, making it difficult for pedestrians to walk.
People have criticized the new wall, saying that it was built too late and demanded that the safety of pedestrians be ensured through 'barriers' or slabs placed on the open drains.
Sehrin Mahbub Sadia, a university student, died after falling into that open roadside sewage drain in Agrabad's Badamtoli area on Monday night.
A fire service diving team rescued her body after four-and-half hours of frantic efforts.
However, neither the CCC nor the CDA has taken responsibility for such “failure” to ensure pedestrians’ safety.
CCC Deputy Chief Cleaning Officer Mohammad Morshedul Alam Chowdhury said that the CDA built the wall at midnight but was not acknowledging it.
He said that slabs needed to be placed at the accident site before a wall is built. Now that the wall has already been built, pedestrians will be at a new risk as they will be forced to use the road instead of a sidewalk.
Chowdhury said that the development authority had been constructing an elevated expressway on Sheikh Mujib Road and was responsible for everything, including maintenance around the area.
According to him, people have misgivings about the city corporation.
The incident on Monday was not the only one of its kind in Chittagong. Previously three people were killed after falling into open ditches in Muradpur and Mayor lanes in the city. However, no security fences have been set up in these two places.
On August 25, businessman Saleh Ahmed went missing after falling into the Muradpur Chashma canal, which did not have any security fences. His body is yet to be recovered.
On June 30, two people died when a CNG-run autorickshaw fell into a canal in Mayor's lane area. Not only have no security fences been built there, but locals had to put up a pole to bar CNGs from entering the road.
Following the university student’s death on Monday, the city authorities wrote to the CDA, saying that the development body had been neglecting public safety while implementing the project.
However, the development authority could not be reached for comments on the CCC claims.
In addition to the three accidents this year, many people have been killed in similar accidents in the port city.
On July 2, 2017, a former government official named Shilbrat Barua died after falling into a drain in front of Shilpakala.
On June 9, 2018, a child died in a similar accident near the Amin Jute Mill area.
Last year, two teenagers died after falling into Maheshkhal in the Brickfield area of Halishahar.
Despite the city dwellers’ requests for security fences or slabs on the open drains, the authorities concerned are yet to make any changes to the situation.