KARACHI: Experts and officials have found serious flaws in equipment, maintenance and operations of the Askari Amusement Park, where the collapse of a carousel had caused the death of a teenage girl last month, it emerged on Tuesday.
They have identified that the affected ride, with poor quality of welding, was not “brand new” and also marked “unsatisfactory” by the park’s inspection team, but the management continued to use it.
An investigation team formed by the Sindh chief secretary after the incident filed its report which revealed how the safety of people’s lives was compromised for commercial interests.
The team also used expertise of individuals associated with the department of mechanical engineering, NED University of Engineering and Technology.
A probe team finds that the ride collapsed because of poor welding
In its report, the team stated that among other reasons the carousel, called “turtle ride”, collapsed due to the “absence of proper rules and regulations”.
“Unfortunately, the fly turtle ride was not brand new at the time of installation,” it said. “The incident occurred due to poor quality of welding of flanges and bolts breaking and absence of proper rules and regulations. It is also important to mention that this ride was marked unsatisfactory for use from June 2 to [June] 8, 2018 generally by their [Askari Park] inspection team.”
Kashf Samad, the teenage girl, was killed and 15 others, including children, were injured when the carousel at the Askari Amusement Park on University Road collapsed on July 15. The park is located inside the Old Sabzi Mandi and it was inaugurated during Eid holidays and had attracted huge crowds.
Inspection of all rides recommended
The report said that the parts of the affected ride, imported from China, were substandard with no proper quality checks.
“Fly turtle ride is no more useable,” said the report. “Operation staff [of the park] was not well qualified. They were hired only on the basis of their experience. Number of checkpoints on daily inspection checklist, which comprised of nine different observations, was not signed specifically but generally by the management.”
In view of negligence not only on part of the contractor but the operational and audit team, the probe team recommended that workability, fitness and safety of all other rides of the Askari Park should be inspected and checked by a technical team comprising members from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Sindh Building Control Authority and a professor from any renowned university before reopening of the facility.
“Well defined standard operating procedure (SOP) of operation and maintenance of all rides should be prepared and followed as per international standards and regularly inspected by respective teams on those parameters,” the team recommended in its report.
Plea against commercial use of park
The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed the management of the Askari Park to file comments till Aug 9 in a petition against using the park for commercial purposes.
Referring to the collapse of the carousel, petitioner Imran Shahzad submitted that the rides at the park were not properly maintained and posed a threat to visitors.
He maintained that the management of the park had ended the green belt and was using the premises for commercial purposes without obtaining a no-objection certificate.
In the previous hearing, the bench had sought comments, but the counsel for the park management sought more time to file a reply.
The deputy commissioner East and police already filed their reports about the incident.
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2018