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Where darkness is a symbol of defiance  

Shamsul Huq Zahid     | Published: August 29, 2019 22:24:33 | Updated: August 30, 2019 22:15:59


The brutal murder of an app-based motorcyclist on the Rampura-Shantinagar-Razarbagh section of the 8.7 km Mouchak-Moghbazar flyover in the dead hours of Sunday night has come as a shock to most people.

They are shocked by the fact that the only breadwinner of a lower middleclass family has been knifed to death by a miscreant for a motorcycle that would fetch him a few thousand taka in the black market.

Newspaper reports have revealed that the police are yet to trace the killer and the video footages they have collected so far as part of their investigation are of no use as those could not capture anything because the flyover gets engulfed by darkness soon after dusk.

Allegations have it that miscreants on occasions intercept private motor vehicles at several points of the flyover in the dead hours of night and rob passengers at gun point, taking advantage of darkness. Besides, the entire flyover becomes accident-prone after dusk. Those who use the flyover after dusk are required to proceed with utmost caution.

This is not to say that the streetlamps would have prevented the murder of the motorcyclist, but an adequately illuminated flyover would have surely forced the killer think twice before committing the crime for fear of being watched by someone from the scores of residential buildings nearby. The police would also have got clear view of the crime incident from the footages of video cameras, if they have installed any on the flyover.

The lack of streetlights along the flyover that has been built to ease traffic movement through Moghbazar, Mouchak, Shantinagar intersections does highlight the extreme level of indifference on the part of the relevant government agencies and the two city corporations.

The Moghbazar-Tejgaon section of the flyover was opened to traffic in March 2016. The streetlamps worked perfectly during the initial 15 to 20 days. For reasons unknown, those stopped operating one day and since then the flyover plunges into darkness soon after dusk. The remaining section of the flyover made operational in October 2017. Though lampposts are there, that section too has been without light since it was opened to traffic.

The Financial Express has so far published a couple of photographs of the flyover immersed in darkness and front-paged a number of stories on the issue in the recent past, but to no avail. 

The local government engineering division (LGED), the builder of the flyover, was responsible for maintenance of the flyover until recently. It reportedly transferred the responsibility to two city corporations some months back. But the situation has not changed at all. The flyover plunges into darkness soon after dusk as usual. None of the corporations has clarified its position on the issue.

The failure on the part of the government agencies to carry out their duties and responsibilities has become a common event. In fact, some agencies have been defiantly demonstrating their lack of interest in addressing public welfare issues.

That is why the country's higher courts do at times issue directives to these agencies sue moto or in response to public interest litigation (PLI) writs. It is high time the government took a serious view of the lack of commitment on the part of the government agencies to issues such as ensuring streetlamps along all city flyovers.

There has always been problem with governance in this country. The problem would intensify further if the government agencies are allowed to be negligent in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.

zahidmar10@gmail.com   

 

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