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Move to bring discipline on Padma Bridge

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 28 June, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The authorities concerned have moved to bring discipline on the Padma Bridge following several unwanted incidents, including the removal of nuts from bolts, after its inauguration as bikers staged demonstrations on Monday demanding that motorcycles be allowed to cross the bridge.

As part of the move, the district administration of Munshiganj launched a mobile court drive against those who violate the rules while crossing the dream bridge.

A driver named Fakhrul Alam was fined Tk 1,000 for making a video by illegally parking his car on the bridge in the afternoon.

Fakhrul, who came with friends from Cumilla, said, “We friends got out of the car and were singing and enjoying ourselves. We didn’t know that it’s forbidden to park cars here.”

The Padma Bridge was opened to traffic on Sunday morning after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated it on Saturday. A large number of vehicles, including motorcycles, private cars, buses and trucks started crossing the bridge paying toll soon after its opening.

Two bikers were killed in a road accident on the bridge while filming on a mobile phone on Sunday evening.

In viral videos, two youths were seen removing nuts from bolts of the bridge railing while another was urinating on the bridge.

Later, the Bridges Division banned the movement of motorcycles through the bridge from Monday morning.

Assistant Commissioner (General and Expatriates’ Welfare) of Munshiganj deputy commissioner's office Ashraful Kabir, who led the mobile court drive, said, “A public notice was issued to ensure smooth movement of vehicles and maintenance of the bridge following various incidents that took place on the first day.”

 He said they also warned five more vehicles apart from fining one. “After the inauguration of the Padma Bridge, people were unnecessarily rioting on the bridge,” the executive magistrate said.

 “Although motorcycles were barred from getting on the bridge, we’ve seen different types of vehicles and even ambulances from where people are getting out on the bridge and going to the middle and committing various illegal activities. This may lead to accident at any time,” Ashraful said.

He said they were monitoring the overall situation. “After coming here, we saw a team making TikTok video. They were crowding unnecessarily. We brought them under the law.”

Meanwhile, despite ban, hundreds of motorbikes thronged the Mawa toll plaza in Munshiganj in the morning to cross the bridge.

Around 500 motorbikes were turned away by traffic police and the toll plaza authorities from 6:00am to 11:30am.

When the bikers were not allowed to cross the Padma Bridge, they tried to forcibly enter the bridge around 9:00am and blocked the movement of other vehicles in front of the toll plaza.

At that time, no vehicle could go through the four lanes for 20-30 minutes. Then, the vehicles used just one lane.

The announcement of ferry movement for motorcycles was later made through loudspeakers at Shimulia Ghat, said Sohel Hasan, sergeant of Mawa Traffic Police Outpost.

The motorbikes then took a ferry from Shimulia Ghat in Munshiganj, said, said BIWTC's Shimulia Ghat Manager (Commerce) Faisal Ahmed.

The situation returned to normalcy around 10:00am.

Bikers claimed that they needed to cross the bridge for urgent work. From the toll plaza, they came to know that a ferry would carry them across the Padma River. But when they went to the ferry terminal, the authorities refused to operate the ferry. So, they again gathered in front of the toll plaza and stated demonstrations.

They later moved away from the toll plaza area after the authorities assured them of operating ferry.