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     Volume 6 Issue 48 | December 14, 2007 |

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News Notes

Another Building Tragedy
The demolition of a building is not an indiscriminate operation. It requires precise planning from engineers who know the science of building architectures. It is very sensitive work and should be approached with the utmost caution, especially in the case of multi-storey buildings. Any amount of negligence can result in a disaster of huge proportions. And a disaster is what happened at the Rangs Bhaban. At around 10:30 pm on December 10, the 11th floor of this partly demolished building on Bijoy Sarani crossing collapsed, trapping at least 10 construction workers inside it.
Several workers had been working on many of the floors of the 22-storey building when the construction caved in according to witnesses. Clearly, lack of experience and adopting no proper rules in demolishing the 22-storey Rangs Bhaban has caused the Saturday night disaster.
Ever since the orders for demolishing parts of the building were carried out in early August, many experts had been constantly warning the authorities regarding the safety measures as well as the proper plans to be undertaken for the task. As the story goes, the warnings went unheeded. Clearly, this incident could have been easily avoided and several innocent lives could have been spared.
Rescue workers and onlookers witnessed gruesome scenes as severed bodies and the trapped workers were being pulled out of the rubble last week. With no past experience of demolishing such a high-rise, the enthusiastic Rajuk drive came to a shocking halt on August 8 when a 20-year-old labourer, Sohrab Hossain, fell from the 12th floor and died instantly.
What is most baffling is that most of the construction workers did not have any safety belts or gears on. In fact, KAM Haroon, the Rajuk Chairman, admitted that safety belts were not arranged for the workers, as they were not demolishing any outer features of the building.
New constructions and high rises are seen almost every other week in Dhaka city. While dozens of workers slave away for months together with hammers and other tools, high rises and constructions in the other parts of the world are demolished using more innovative and modern methods. We need to follow a more cautious approach if we want to avoid the loss of precious lives.

PHOTO: Star File

Shaheed Birshreshtha Hamidur Comes Home

The government last week took the commendable step of bringing back home the remains of Shaheed Birshreshtha Sepoy Hamidur Rahman's remains. Seventeen-year-old Hamidur embraced martyrdom in the battle of Dholai in Sylhet's Srimangal on October 28, 1971. The Shaheed Sepoy was born on February 2, 1953 in Khardo Khalishpur, Jessore. The eldest son of his family Hamidur joined our glorious war of freedom in 1971 and within a few months became famous for his valour.
In the battle of Dholai, the Muktijoddahs find it impossible to capture a border outpost held by the occupying Pakistani army because of a Light Machine Gun that was continuously firing from the southwestern corner at the freedom fighters. When his commander ordered Hamidur to neutralise the gun, Hamidur started crawling towards the outpost, knowing that his actions would cost him his own life. Braving enemy fires and hard surface, this valiant Bangali soldier moved closer to the gun and jumped into the outpost, locked in an unarmed combat with two Pakistani soldiers and neutralised the gun at the cost of his life. Only because of his determination and sacrifice Dholai Border Outpost was captured and subsequently Sylhet was freed. Shaheed Birshreshtha Sepoy Hamidur Rahman was buried in the Indian state of Tripura. With the remains of the Shaheed sepoy's remains brought back to the country all the seven Birshreshthas are resting in peace in their beloved motherland.
The honour with which the government has bestowed Shaheed Hamidur has been necessary and long overdue. But this gesture should not be kept at a symbolic level. Last two months have witnessed the known collaborators like Mojahed and Qader Mollah make arrogant and seditious comments against our great war of independence. The government has not so far done anything to bring these vile collaborators of the Pakistani occupation forces to book. This inaction gives out the wrong signal, for inspired by Mojahed's seditious comment, Shah Abdul Hannan, one of his lackeys, has called our war of liberation a mere civil war. The government has so far shied away from taking any legal steps against these infamous criminals, it is time to remind it of its responsibility to uphold the dignity of the three millions shaheeds of our liberation war, it is also time to remind the government that if it wants to establish justice and rule of law it cannot back away from forming a tribunal to try the war criminals. It cannot escape responsibility by saying that as no previous governments had punished these infamous Rajakars it cannot take up a new agenda, or that it has already too many things at hand. But this is also true that no previous government has seriously launched a war on corruption, no government has rekindled the hope of an equal society like the way this government has tried to do. The basis of justice and freedom will remain mere rhetoric if the war criminals are not put behind bars. The true way to honour the shaheeds is this way.
PHOTO: Focus Bangla

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