Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013

Loss not less than Tk 500cr

Finds a quick assessment on public property damaged during Jamaat- Shibir violence

State loss in violence

Apart from the heavy human toll, lots of public properties have been damaged during the recent violence unleashed by Jamaat-Shibir activists across the country.
The damage to state properties including a power substation, trains, rail tracks and buses adds up to at least Tk 500 crore, according to preliminary estimates.
Officials said the losses will drastically hamper government services for an indefinite period.
Leaders and activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student front Islami Chhatra Shibir went berserk across the country after the International Crimes Tribunal-1 on February 28 sentenced top Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee to death for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
The incidents of violence left at least 72 people killed and hundreds injured.
The Kansat power substation was burned down in Chapainawabganj. The arson alone has caused the authorities a loss of around Tk 200 crore. Now the government has to reinstall the substation, which might take more than a month.
Railway was a prime target of the Jamaat-Shibir men as two inter-city trains were set on fire and several rail bridges and culverts were damaged. Besides, rail tracks were uprooted in different areas, disrupting train services for hours.
Hoodlums on Sunday set fire to express train Silk City in Rajshahi that burned down three coaches. The following day, two coaches of Upakul Express were gutted when they were set afire by a gang of thugs at Kamalapur Railway Station.
Also attacked were upazila parishad buildings, police stations and outposts. While vandalising the offices, Jamaat-Shibir men damaged documents.
A total of 81 buses of Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) were smashed and three were torched during hartals in the last two months.
The BRTC has estimated its loss at Tk 3.5 crore. It would require Tk 2 crore to repair the vehicles, said Colonel Abdullahel Karim, director (technical) of BRTC.
Asked about the repair costs of the damaged train coaches, Abu Taher, director general of Bangladesh Railway, said, “We are not thinking about the repair costs. Our main concern now is to ensure safety of the passengers and trains. The repair work is costly and time-consuming.”
Railway officials and staff are working round the clock to keep train services running, he added.
Seven police vehicles were torched and 33 were vandalised in last five days. Besides, five police stations and outposts came under attack.
Police across the country filed 235 cases in connection with arson attacks and arrested 572 persons since February 28.
Local Government and Rural Development Secretary Abu Alam Shahid Khan said they have directed the deputy commissioners (DCs) of all districts to assess the losses caused by the violence and inform it to the ministry.