Saturday, 22 January, 2022
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Jhalakathi civil surgeon made OSD over launch fire: Health Ministry

The civil surgeon in Jhalakathi has been made OSD for negligence of duty in dealing with the victims of last month’s launch fire on Sugandha River near this southern town.

A letter signed by the deputy secretary of the ministry of health on Monday said civil surgeon Dr. Ratan Kumar Dhali was made OSD over the incident of devastating MV Abhijan-10 launch fire where 49 people were killed and dozens are still missing.

 According to a list maintained by Red Crescent Bangladesh's Jhalakathi district office, at least 58 people were still missing as of Wednesday.

On December 26, the chief inspector of the Department of Shipping Shafiqur Rahman filed a case against eight people, including four owners of the launch, under the Marine Act with the Marine Court. The court took cognizance of the case and issued arrest warrants against the accused.

That day, Dhaka Marine Court ordered to send the two drivers of the MV Abhijan-10 launch to jail in a case related to last month’s deadly fire.

On December 28, the police control room set up at the launch terminal provided information about 41 missing passengers, said Md Salauddin, a sub-inspector at Jhalakathi Sadar Police Station.

They are - the 8th accused in the case Abul Kalam (in-charge driver) and the 7th accused Masum Billah (2nd driver).

The same day the court sent the two masters of the launch Riaz Sikder (master in charge) and the 6th accused Khalilur Rahman (2nd master) to jail when they surrendered before it.

Advocate Billal Hossain, prosecuting officer of the Department of Shipping, said that the overall responsibility of the engine room rests with the engine drivers. Not only did they neglect their responsibilities, their role in the aftermath of the fire was presumptuous. The fire was initially reported to have started from the engine room, he said.

If they had managed the engine room properly with perfect supervision, perhaps this horrible tragedy could have been averted, Adv Billal added.

The worst launch fire in memory occurred in the early hours of December 24 off Jhalakathi town as Abhijan-10 packed with more than 800 passengers was on the way to Barguna from Dhaka.