Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Wednesday said the government will examine whether the collisions of ferries with the pillars of the Padma Bridge took place repeatedly due to the incompetence of the ferry masters or those might be acts of sabotage.
The Awami League general secretary came up with the remark while speaking at a discussion, organised by Awami Swechchhasebak League, at the auditorium of the Institution of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh (IDEB) in the capital on the occasion of the National Mourning Day.
Chaired by Swechchhasebak League president Nirmal Ranjan Guha, the meeting was addressed, among others, by AL presidium member Abdur Rahman, joint general secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim, Swechchhasebak League general secretary Afzalur Rahman Babu, and vice-presidents Gazi Meshbaul Haque Sachhu and Abdus Salam.
Speaking as the chief guest, Quader said: “Why did the ferries hit (the pillars of Padma Bridge) time and again? Not once or twice, such incidents occurred four times…we should examine whether those were incompetence of ferry masters or sabotages”.
He added: “Why would this happen time and again before the construction work of the bridge project is completed? We need to look into the matter. There was a conspiracy about this project and it is not over yet.”
Quader, also the Awami League general secretary, said when the World Bank withdrew its funding from the Padma Bridge project, the construction of the bridge fell in uncertainty.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina decided to construct the Padma Bridge with own funding and that is why today the Padma Bridge is a visible reality.
“Vehicular movement is expected to begin by June next. Installation of all pillars has already been completed. I am saying this because the ferries hit the pillars of the bridge four times in the last one month,” he added.
Replying a question, the AL general secretary said the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is a political one, while the politicians take decisions on any issue and bureaucrats implement those.
“The government is on the right track. Our prime minister determines all the policies. The government is not dependent on bureaucrats,” he added.
About the coronavirus pandemic, Quader said it should be remembered that permanent lockdown is not a solution to coronavirus if the people are not aware of it.
He said the government is considering reopening all educational institutions gradually and, therefore, it is urgent to make the mass inoculation programme a success.
Mentioning the brutality of the August 15 carnage, Quader said Julius Caesar was the first victim of political assassination in the history of the world.
He said the way William Shakespeare described this murder, if the English playwright had been alive after August 15, 1975, he would have described the killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the most heinous and tragic murder in the world.
Abdur Rahman said standing by the country’s people should be the main aim of politics during the ongoing pandemic and “we will stand by the people by turning grief into strength. If people get peace and relief, the souls of Bangabandhu and his family members (killed in 1975) will also get peace”.
Bahauddin Nasim said BNP founder Ziaur Rahman was the mastermind of the August 15 carnage and the truth has been revealed over time.