National, Front Page

Darkness-covered flyovers turn risky at night

Published : 30 Aug 2019 09:08 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 04:54 AM

Most of the flyovers and foot over bridges in the city get cloaked in darkness when night falls as there is no adequate light to illuminate them thus facilitating criminals to roam freely. As a result, city people who use the flyovers either in their private vehicles or rented transport like autorickshaw, have to face criminals and other goons quite often.

As there are not sufficient lights on the flyovers, it is almost impossible to see ahead. It was 11.30pm on Thursday a "thick darkness" covered all the roads and the flyover in front of Hotel Sonargaon in the capital's Kawran Bazaar. There is a light post on the road and flyover, but the lamps were not lit. This situation has been prevailing for a long time. The same scenario can be found in almost all seven flyovers of the capital. Due to the darkness and haunting environment, criminals can lurk in these areas uncontrolled.

Apart from the flyovers, most of the city foot over bridges also remain blanketed in thick darkness when night falls. It has been reported that several vehicles were either seized at the spots or taken away by criminals alone. Mugging in the darkness has also increased the activity of professional criminals, including gangsters and robbers in the area. Ordinary people are taking the risk of life in these dark streets.

As the night progresses, the flyovers are occupied by robbers.Two city corporations have the responsibility of managing almost all of the capital's roads and flyovers, including the lamps and signal systems.However, it is the responsibility of the local government ministry to build and prepare the flyover. The traffic police only manage these road and flyover arrangements.

Not only in this area, but also some areas of Mouchak-Malibagh flyover, Banglamotar-Moghbazar road, Paribagh, Dhanmondi, Azimpur, Mohammadpur, Kamrangirchar, Mirpur, Turag, Uttara, Jatrabari and some parts of old Dhaka, do not have security, claim concerned residents of the areas.On Sunday night, a ride-sharing motorbike driver, Milan, was in the neck and killed by a passenger on a Malibag flyover.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Traffic Division (North) Joint Commissioner Md. Abdur Razzak said, “traffic police are in charge of road discipline and security on all roads of the capital, during the day and night.”“Besides, traffic police are responsible 24 hours in areas where there is public and vehicular traffic. Due to the shortage of the number of police personnel, it is not possible to keep traffic police deployed on all roads or flyovers at night,” he added.

In many places, addicts or professional thieves have stolen cycle lights. In many cases, lamppost lights went out of order and were never fixed again.On the other hand, CCTV cameras were installed to monitor different points of the road by the City Corporation and Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).There are no CC cameras in many places. There are also allegations that CC cameras are not being monitored properly in the areas.

Sohrab Hossain, Joint Secretary (Urban Development-1) of the Ministry of Local Government said, “the lights did not go on in many places in the flyover of Mouchak-Magbazar. However, the responsibility of maintaining this flyover has already been explained at the City Corporation meeting. The City Corporation has already adopted a project for the lights. Only with this approval will the lighting be resolved.”

It is reported that on average 15-20 incidents were reported in Mohakhali, Mouchak and Jatrabari Mayor Hanif flyovers. However, most victims do not complain at the police stations.Last July, a private bank official named Nikhil Bhadra was subjected to such an occurrence. He was returning to his Kajla house at night on Hanif flyover on his motorcycle. He was mugged in the Sayedabad area by four robbers.

It is known that there are a total of 7 flyovers in the capital. The Kuril flyover was introduced before the Moghbazar flyover. After this, four more flyovers were launched in Mohakhali, Khilgaon, Banani and Tejgaon areas. They are playing special roles in decreasing traffic congestion. But the authorities concerned, including the law enforcement agencies, do not seem active providing security and services because they lack proper supervision.

Private cars, microbuses, motorcycle riders are often in danger in using flyovers for fear of criminals and robbers. Under these flyovers, drug addicts are also found to shelter. Most of the flyovers are in the business of selling drugs in the morning and evening.

According to the intelligence agency, the snatching flyover gangs pick the night and inclement weather to facilitate their work. They seek opportunity during storms or foggy nights. There are also allegations that the flyover lampposts have been kept idle for long through bribing corrupt employees of the power department. Due to lack of surveillance, the miscreants have chosen flyovers as safe zones for various crimes, including raids.

Ruhul Amin, a Malibag resident, said the flyover becomes much more frightening at night. Along with the robbers, the juvenile crime gangs are active at some points. Anil Hossain, a furniture shop owner in the Khilgaon area, said, “The Khilgaon flyover is more terrifying at night. Snatching and drug addiction take place there. Occasionally, raids also took place. To avoid unpleasant incidents, it is possible to catch the rogues if constant police patrols and plainclothesmen remain in the area at night.”

About the murder of Pathao driver Milan, Shahjahanpur Police Station Officer-in-Charge, Mohammad Shahid, said that initially, it seemed to be a case of robbery. To arrest the professional robbers in the capital drives are continuing. Flyover CC camera footage is being collected to investigate the incident. Criminologist Zia Khan said, “the flyovers have brought some relief to the capital's transport services, but at nighttime, the flyovers are left unprotected. Serious crime take place. The concerned authorities should provide security on the flyovers.”

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) deputy commissioner (media) Masudur Rahman said, “due to the manpower crisis, the police are not being able to monitor security on the flyover. However, police are concerned about the safety on the flyovers. If the manpower is increased, we will be able to provide better security,” he added.