The Lakho Konthe Program, where more than 254,681 people gathered to sing the national anthem in chorus at the National Parade Square grounds in an attempt to create a Guinness world record was widely mismanaged at all ends. Take for example the false claim that every participant was given a cap and a bag containing the national flag, a certificate, and a card containing the national anthem and relevant rules, water bottle, juice, and saline.
|Photo: People thronging haphazardly at the Lakho Konthe event|
Witnesses at the program confirmed that the situation at a majority of the ground was chaotic, except for perhaps the area in front of the pavilion of Prime Minister and the singing stage. There was an inadequate supply of food and water, not because of unavailability, but because of the fact that there was a massive hoarding of the items by the administration themselves, namely the caps and the bags. Many others didn't get the food packs, as a result of which many had to go without food or water for a straight 4-6 hours while standing in the hot sun. Many attendees complained of the army being involved in the above malpractices. One schoolgirl of class 9, Tahera Akhter, when asked about the matter, informed that when she and her friends lined up for backpacks and caps were waved away by army personnel, saying that there were ‘problems involved’. Each personnel, she says, took 20-30 pieces of bags and caps for themselves. Such instances of mismanagement invariably resulted in many falling ill or fainting as a result of dehydration and weakness emanating from the excessive dust and the heat.
|Photo: Street urchin sleeps as people flock to get into the Lakho Konthe program|
The BGMEA, the garments manufacturers association of Bangladesh, in a press briefing at its headquarters in the capital on Thursday informed that the number of garments workers who had attended the Lakho Konthe program alone numbered 2 lakhs. Manabzamin, while reporting on the program, quoted BGMEA Vice President S.M Mannan Kochi who claimed that about 2000 garments workers alone had fallen ill at the program due to dust, heat and exhaustion among other reasons, conflicting media reports from bdnews24 such as this which said that only about 30 people had fallen ill at the program.
|Photo: People over the national flag while leaving the program premises|
The blatant lack of management in terms of maintaining order failed similarly, as all semblance of orderliness failed miserably down the track of both space and time. Attendees of the program informed of chaos both while entering and exiting the grounds and on the ground itself. At the time the main singing event transpired, many were seen sitting due to exhaustion while others were seen waving flags without any clue. The claim by organizers that there was one army personnel for every 50 participants turned out to be void as clusters of officers meant to be looking after order were seen chitchatting at random clusters instead. Endless replicas of the Bangladesh national flag, meant to be treated with respect, were seen strewn around as people, mired in exhaustion from the heat and exhaustion, were forced to either sit or walk on piles of national flags fallen on the ground, a legacy of the widespread mismanagement already in place.
|Photo: More people over the national flag while leaving program premises|
Shocking as it may seem, this misappropriation too, seems to have gone over the radar of the media in large. Or is it just that the media alive are the government compliant ones?