The Financial Express

The debate on keeping hazards at bay  

| Updated: November 24, 2019 20:47:21

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
The debate on keeping hazards at bay   

This should not be a challenging task to lead a smooth or long life without being afflicted by hazards. What a person needs in this unwieldy city of Dhaka are some prerequisites. Broadly speaking, they include extreme care while walking along a footpath close to a busy road, avoiding areas underneath multi-storey buildings, resisting temptation of drinking juice from prepared green coconuts etc. The latter, on occasions mixed with strong sedatives, may make one unconscious leading to a person being robbed of valuables.

Engaging in unnecessary chatting with strangers in a public transport is another booby trap of sorts. The new acquaintances in these cases use chloroform-soaked pieces of cloth to make their co-passengers senseless. They operate in groups and conduct their mugging operations silently. In the large cities of Bangladesh, lots of hazards of these types occur every day. Yet few people are found to be awakened to the stark realities.

Grave injuries and sudden deaths in accidental occurrences increasingly stalk the people in Dhaka and the other metropolises. A few people might recall the incident of a middle-aged office employee coming out of his home in one morning, and fatally stricken by an electric power-line severed occidentally from a pole. He died in the spot, with his stunned wife and a girl-child watching him crumble to the ground. A similar accident killed a noted young painter in Dhaka, with the branch of a dead tree falling on the rickshaw he had been travelling on. The fatal accident occurred a few years ago. In the above two cases, the victims had nothing to do. They apparently had no scope for taking precautions.

Fatalists might say, death was stalking them or they were predestined to die this way. The recent train collision that had killed 17 innocent people belonged to the genre of these fatal mishaps. Yet, these fatalities remain a great existential enigma. Spiritual schools hold the view that a person's countdown to death begins the moment he or she is born. In short, they continue to be hounded by death throughout their lives.

The irony is that these conclusions do not preclude the imperative of remaining alert to mishaps or situations fraught with dangers or the coldness of death. Among many other causes of accidents and deaths, ranging from road or other transport mishaps, fire outbreaks, attack by criminals to lightning, or any other adverse situations, there have been a few common mishaps.

In recent times, explosions caused by faults in gas supply lines occupy a remarkable place in these accidents. These gas-line explosions once used to be limited to capital Dhaka. In almost every case, the mishaps finally emerged as being the results of negligence on the part of the gas distributors or corrupt practices --- involving pilferage of gas from the main line nearby.

Every year, a staggering number of people die from gas line explosions in Dhaka and other cities these days. The latest cooking gas-related explosion occurred in Chittagong. The blast killed seven people who were passing by the house, the gas source, at the time of the blast. The explosion ripped through a wall of the house killing passersby including two women and a child. The blast-triggered collapse of the wall adjacent to a busy road was primarily held responsible for the sad deaths.

None of the dead or the injured had ever thought of such a deadly hazard. In this case who were supposed to take precautions to keep the calamity at bay? It might spark a pseudo-philosophical debate. Contentions of both the groups, those dealing with the mundane reality and the consequences of belittling it and those terming hazards a twist of fate deserve to be honoured; yet the stress on preventive measures receives most of the commoners' support, since the mishaps have been seen by them in detail at the places of occurrence.


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