POST TIME: 1 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 1 November, 2019 12:09:38 AM
We are shocked by Rupnagar tragedy

We are shocked by Rupnagar tragedy

The death of five children due to the blast of a gas cylinder used to inflate balloons has left us numb in shock. Many other children were also injured in the accident, including the balloon seller. It’s safe to surmise that the cylinder had substandard gas and very little safety measure to minimise damage in case of an accident. Smiles at the sight of balloons turning into grisly death are something which cannot be accepted in any way. At this moment, our thoughts, prayers and sympathy are for those who lost their children in the incident. However, this should also wake us up and make us more alert about usage of cylinders, which is becoming more common in the city.

This is not the first time that exploding cylinders caused death but perhaps the first time when the casualties involved children. It’s most unfortunate and heart wrenching that we have to learn lessons about safety at the cost of lives, especially those which epitomize innocence, virtue and the best of humanity. From now on, all cylinder-based balloon inflating has to be stopped totally or, allowed to run with safety features in place, so, even if there’s an accident, the damage will be limited. An overall restriction on the unguarded movement of filled gas cylinders is also essential since it’s a common sight to find gas cylinders stacked on open trucks.

In Dhaka, many apartments use gas cylinders due to the absence of gas connections; in many homes, such cylinders are kept near the parking lot without proper protection. The same kind of lax attitude is seen in the case of road side tea stalls which also use gas cylinders on a regular basis. Lest we forget, the old Dhaka fire explosion which resulted in many deaths about a year ago also had gas cylinders which, exposed to open flame, added to the carnage.

It’s time for the government to pass a legislation to formally ban reckless movement of such cylinders. Since winter is coming, village fairs will become attractive entertainment points in rural Bangladesh with a variety of amusements offered to children. Apart from cylinders, there will be many games including, Ferris wheels which are usually bamboo made structures. While these are integral part of rural fairs, attention has to be given to the safety features so joy does not end up in pain. We do not want smiles of children to be wiped out due to our carelessness.