Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Friday said that the government would investigate if there is any conspiracy or sabotage behind water vessels repeatedly crashing into pillars of Padma Bridge.
“It would be wrong to take this matter lightly .We have to investigate whether there is any conspiracy or sabotage,'' said the general secretary of Awami League.
He also made a call on the armed forces active in the area to closely monitor the situation.
He said this to reporters after visiting the Mawa end of the Padma Bridge in Munshiganj on Friday afternoon .
The minister also hinted that any one of Shimulia or Banglabazar ferry terminals might be shifted elsewhere to reduce the chance of such ‘accidents.
Several commuters had a narrow escape after a ferry carrying them crashed into a pier of the Padma bridge on Friday morning.
The accident occurred when the K-type ferry, named Kakoli, was heading towards Shimlulia ghat in Munshiganj district from Banglabazar ghat in Madaripur.
"Around 7am, the ferry hit pier number 10 shedding a portion of concrete of the pile cap," executive engineer (main bridge) Dewan Abdul Kader told UNB.
Though the vessel was partially damaged, there has been no structural damage to the bridge. "But frequent ferry accidents are really concerning," Dewan said.
A pier is a structure that extends into the water to support the bridge superstructure and transfer the loads to the foundation.
Mawa naval police IC JM Shirajul Kabir said the navigator of the ferry lost control of the vessel due to strong river current, leading to the crash.
Navigator Md Badal Hossain said that he lost control of the ferry due to strong river current. "Though a crack developed in the ferry after it had hit the pier, we could safely reach Shimulia ghat," he said.
In the past two months, at least five such accidents have taken place in the district.
On August 10, the government banned the movement of ferries with heavy vehicles on board under the Padma bridge.
However, the bridge authority claims that the bridge is so strong that only the ferries will sustain damage in case of a collision.
Recently, on the night of August 9, another ferry, Ro Ro Birsreshtha Jahangir, hit pier 10 of the bridge injuring five passengers and causing damage to three vehicles it was carrying.
The authority had filed a complaint at the Louhajang police station in this regard and temporarily suspended the inland master officer and wheel sukani of the ferry.
Besides, on August 10, a five-member probe body was formed and ordered to submit a report within three days.