We are extremely shocked at the death of twenty-six people as a speedboat carrying them overturned after hitting a sand-laden bulkhead anchored in the Padma River near on Monday. The so-called speed boat, hastily manufactured by assembling an engine with a boat, had no license. The driver of the boat was also unlicensed and it was being operated violating lockdown rules imposed to contain Covid-19 outbreak.
In this particular case we can see a combination of violation of different rules coupled with reckless driving that resulted in the accident. So, we beg to ask who is to account for these tragedies. The accident was not the result of human error or inescapability of circumstance but human neglect and gross violation of rules. Thus the accident did not happen but was actually invited. Reportedly, Tk. 20,000 was given to each the families of the diseased. Is life so cheap?As we have seen in this case, horrific accidents in waterways occur due to wilful negligence and violation of safety rules but such accidents could have been prevented. But, regrettably there seems none to plug the hole.
Chief among the fault lines are the unfit and faulty design of watercrafts commonly known as engine-boats or trawlers, overloading of passengers and goods, and careless navigation. The so-called trawlers are hastily assembled without any scientific design and navigational knowledge. On top of that, laymen or minor boys are often found operating them. As these basic navigation rules are ignored and very little inspection takes place, one fatal mishap is followed by another.
Every time a tragedy occurs, we find the government’s role remains confined in expressing condolence and handing out some cash to the bereaved families. But it is not acceptable when most of the accidents could be avoided.
We hope the latest tragedy on the River Padma will serve as a wakeup call to the government to deal with the causes of accidents in waterways. Besides, the owner and operators of the watercraft should be booked and given exemplary punishment.