Death of Titas: Probe body reformed

Shipping Ministry on Thursday reconstituted the probe body to investigate the death of schoolboy Titas in an ambulance as a ferry's departure was delayed for three hours in Madaripur for a government official. The three-member committee will be headed by Shipping Ministry additional secretary Sanjay Kumar Banik.

The two other members are: Joint Secretary Shahnewaz Dilruba Khan and Deputy Secretary SM Shah Habibur Rahman Hakim. Md Jahangir Alam, senior public relations officer of the ministry, said the reconstituted committee is effective from July 29, the date of formation of the previous committee. On Wednesday, the High Court directed the Public Administration Secretary to investigate the death of Titas.

The HC asked the secretary to appoint an additional secretary for the inquiry and submit the report before it by three weeks. The bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and K M Kamrul Quader gave the order with a rule after primary hearing of a writ petition. In the rule, the court wanted to know why Tk 3 crore in compensation should not be given to the family of Titas. The court also fixed August 28 for next hearing.

On Tuesday, a writ has been filed with the High Court seeking its directives on the government to provide Tk 3 crore as compensation to the family of Titas Ghosh. The Supreme Court lawyer Md Johir Uddin, also the chairman of Legal Support and People's Right, filed the writ. The writ also sought directives to take action against a joint secretary and the ferry ghat manager, to investigate the incident by the secretary of shipping ministry and to ensure ambulance movement on roads and ferries on the basis of highest priority to take action against a joint secretary and the ferry ghat manager over the death.

Meanwhile, the High Court has observed that no one in the country should consider themselves a VIP (very important person) other than the president and the prime minister. The High Court bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader came up with the comment while hearing a writ petition filed seeking Tk3 crore as compensation for the family of Titas Ghosh.

Titas has died in the ambulance as the authority delayed the departure of a ferry at Khathalbari jetty in Madaripur for three hours for a joint secretary. The family of the dead student alleged that the ferry was anchored at the jetty for three hours on Thursday night waiting for a ‘VIP car.’ They implored the police and BIWTA not to delay the ferry further, as it was a race against time for the child. That went in vain. Calling 999, the emergency number for government services, also proved futile, the family alleged.

The ferry, named ‘Cumilla’, departed only when the car carrying the joint secretary boarded the vessel around 11 pm but Titas Ghosh, 11, a student of grade six, died from brain haemorrhage within half an hour while the family was still in the middle of the river. Titas, son of Tapas Ghosh from Kaliya in Narail, was a student of Kaliya Pilot Secondary School. On Thursday evening, he was initially taken to a private hospital in Khulna after he was severely injured in a motorcycle accident.

He was later being shifted to Dhaka in an ambulance equipped with an intensive care unit, as the doctor flagged his condition as critical. The ambulance reached the jetty at around 8 pm, Titas’s elder sister Tannisha Ghosh told. The ferry was at the jetty at the time. They begged for help from the jetty operators and the police on duty, but no-one budged and the ferry stayed there.