As revellers joined travellers to celebrate the opening of the structure to traffic, two young men on a motorcycle died in an accident on the bridge on Sunday evening.
In a video purportedly of an aftermath of the accident, two young men were seen lying on the bridge with a motorcycle next to them.
In the video, some policemen were also seen at the scene, but officers from several units declined to confirm the news, saying the place was not under their jurisdiction.
Sumon Deb, additional superintendent of police in Munshiganj, said he heard that the accident had occurred between piers No. 27 and 28. Therefore, it was under the jurisdiction of the police on the other side of the river.
Only four days before the inauguration of the bridge, one police station had been opened at either end of the bridge – Padma Bridge North Police Station with Medinimandal and Kumarbhog at Mawa end in Munshiganj, and Padma Bridge North Police Station with East and West Naodoba at Zajira end in Shariatpur.
The entire bridge was thought to be under the jurisdiction of these two police stations. In reality, it was not.
Mostafizur Rahman, chief of Padma Bridge South police, said no accident occurred on his side of the bridge. Piers No. 33 to 42 are under his area.
Munshiganj SP Abdul Momen said piers No. 1 to 15 fall in his area and no accident happened there as well.
Then what about the portion from piers No. 16 to 32 in the middle of the bridge?
This portion belongs to Madaripur district police, said SP Momen. “The accident might have occurred in an area under Madaripur’s Shibchar Police Station.”
Madaripur SP Golam Mostafa Russell acknowledged the area is under his jurisdiction.
“But no one has informed me about the accident,” he said.
“No one from our station went there. We looked after the place in the middle during the construction of the bridge. Now two police stations have been set up. We can’t get on the bridge from the middle of the river. One of the two police stations there should look into the accident now.”
On the first day of the opening, it turned out the number of people who came to visit the new bridge itself was far greater than the people who actually had somewhere to go by using the bridge, creating long tailbacks on the approach roads.
Many people completely ignored the rules that disallow people to stop in the middle of the bridge or get down from their vehicles to take pictures or shoot videos.
Police tried to stop the crowds from gathering on the bridge several times, but failed, prompting the government to issue another notice reminding the people of the rules.
As the news of the mishap broke, the government announced a ban on motorcycles on the bridge from 6am on Monday until further notice, citing risks of accident.
Doctors declared the two victims dead on arrival at Dhaka Medical College Hospital around 10:30pm.
Speaking to bdnews24.com at that time, Jihadul Kabir, an additional deputy inspector general of police, acknowledged the complexities related to the jurisdiction of the area in the middle of the bridge.
“We will complete the demarcation soon.”