Barishal-Dhaka highway has become a name of fear for passengers due to one accident after another. The movement of vehicles on the Padma Bridge, the dream of the people of the south-western region, has started from June 26. After the opening of the bridge, the traffic pressure on various roads in the southern region has increased several times. But the width of the highways did not increase. As a result, the number of accidents and fatalities is increasing while driving vehicles on narrow roads.
According to media reports, 28 people, including women and children, have lost their lives in major and minor accidents on the southern highway since the start of traffic on the Padma Bridge till July 21. Out of which the two biggest accidents occurred in Bakerganj and Wazirpur on July 20 and 21 within 24 hours. Twelve people lost their lives in these two incidents. At least 12 people were injured. Moreover, most of the accidents occurred between the border of Barisal district between Bhurghata in Gournadi and Lebukhali in Bakerganj.
Analysts say that after the inauguration of the Padma Bridge, there has been an increase in the unhealthy competition in the vehicles. This situation is created by the tendency to go ahead. Concerned people are looking at the carelessness of passengers, illegal vehicles on the highway, unskilled drivers, lack of training, unfit vehicles as the main reasons behind this.
In such a situation, it has become necessary to upgrade the Dhaka-Barishal highway from Vanga to the tourist center Kuakata to the four lane road along with the expressway and bring the highway under CCTV cameras. Along with this, to avoid traffic jams, haat-bazars, bus and transport counters built on the road, three-huller stands should be moved to a safe distance.
It has been revealed that on July 21st, around 10:30 pm, a motorcycle rider named Saiful Islam was killed on the spot after being run over by an unidentified truck in Khanjapur area of Gournadi Upazila on Dhaka-Barishal highway. A rider was injured. On the same day at around 12.30 pm, six tourists from Kuakata who were in the microbus were killed when a Molla Travels bus rammed the microbus parked in the new Shikarpur area of Wazirpur upazila on the highway. At least 10-12 people including bus passengers were injured. Earlier on July 20, the driver of a battery-powered easybike, an 18-month-old child, his mother and aunt were killed when a BRTC bus ran over them In front of the fire service station of Bakerganj upazila on the same highway. Another person is being treated in the hospital with injuries in the incident. Before this, on July 15, the Gourandi Mahilara union councilor of Dhaka-Barisal highway was hit by a Pajero. Abdul Malek (60), a auuto driver was killed. Lorry driver Moktar Mollah (50) was killed in a collision between a bus and an oil lorry at the north end of the bridge adjacent to Gournadi Torki Bazar on the same highway at around 7:15 am on July 12. Six passengers of the bus were injured. On the afternoon of July 11, Md died after being hit by a bus on the new Shikarpur highway in Uzirpur. A van driver named Alamgir (50). Motorcycle driver Abdur Rahman (30) was killed in an accident on July 8 in West Bezhar area of Gournadi. On July 6, a motorcyclist named Bellal Hossain Sheikh (40) was killed when he was run over by a microbus in the Ichladi toll plaza area of Uzirpur. On the same day, 32 people were injured in a collision between two buses in Khanjapur of Gournadi and two people were injured in a head-on collision between a bus and a truck in Barisal’s Kashipur Banshtala area. Covered van driver Abid Ali (42) died in a three-way collision between a bus-covered van and a three-wheeler on the left rail of Uzirpur on June 25. A van driver named Alamgir (50). Motorcycle driver Abdur Rahman (30) was killed in an accident on July 8 in West Bezhar area of Gournadi. On July 6, a motorcyclist named Bellal Hossain Sheikh (40) was killed when he was run over by a microbus in the Ichladi toll plaza area of Uzirpur. On the same day, 32 people were injured in a collision between two buses in Khanjapur of Gournadi and two people were injured in a head-on collision between a bus and a truck in Barisal’s Kashipur Banshtala area. Covered van driver Abid Ali (42) died in a three-way collision between a bus-covered van and a three-wheeler on the left rail of Uzirpur on June 25.
Meanwhile, casualties were reported in a few accidents outside Barisal district as well.
Among them, a businessman named Deepak Halder (55) died after being hit by a motorcycle in Jhopkhali area of Betagi Upazila of Barguna at around 9 pm on July 20. Earlier on July 17, a young man named Riyad (35) was killed in a head-on collision between a passenger bus and a cargo truck in Shakariya area of Amtali upazila on the Barisal-Kuakata highway. At least seven people were injured in this incident. On July 2, Mathbaria-Bhandaria road, Tuskhali College road adjacent to the bus. Jahangir Hossain and Md. Two cow traders named Hiron Mia were killed. Two others were injured in this incident. On July 6, a volunteer league leader named Abdullah Al Mamun (32) was killed by a bus in the Saildah area of Nazirpur upazila on the Pirojpur-Dhaka highway. On the morning of June 29, a pedestrian named Parimal Bepari (45) was killed after being hit by a motorcycle in Nesharabad Kuriana Bazar area of Barisal-Swaroopakathi road. The motorcyclist was injured. Twenty passengers were injured when the bus lost control and fell into a ditch near Maukaran Bridge on the Barisal-Patuakhali highway in the early hours of July 16. On July 16 at around 11:30 p.m., Dr. Bhola-Charfashion Road of Lalmohan Upazila. An old man named Chittaranjan Das (60) was killed when he fell on the road while boarding a bus near Azahar Uddin College. The people of this region have become very worried due to the sudden increase in the incidence of accidents on the Dhaka-Kuakata highway. He raised the demand for safe roads. Want Safe Road Barisal convener Ruhul Amin said Padma Bridge has boosted the economy of the southern region. After the inauguration of the bridge, the traffic pressure in the region has increased manifold. Along with that, the tendency to go ahead has increased. Competition has increased in how fast drivers can reach Barisal to Dhaka or Dhaka to Barisal. But the road was not widened. It is a major cause of road accidents nowadays. He added that illegal vehicles are plying on the road. For example, the BRTC bus that crushed Easybike in Bakerganj was plying the highway illegally for a long time. But the concerned authorities have not taken any action against it. I think the role of BRTA should be increased here. Their lack of vigilance increases the risk of accidents in illegal vehicles. Therefore, this organizer of safe roads believes that the supervision of BRTA on roads and highways is necessary.
Professor Shah Sajeda, President of Conscious Citizens Committee (SANAK) Barisal district, said that in the current state of road accidents, it seems that more people are dying in road accidents than corona. The number of small vehicles has increased compared to road. Drivers are not trained. There is a feeling that works in those who drive big cars. As soon as they hold the steering wheel, it seems like they are flying an airplane, becoming reckless. They are causing accidents while driving at will. Before controlling it, training should be provided to improve the skills of the drivers. He also thinks that there is no alternative to awareness to prevent road accidents.
It has been found that the Highway Police is working to prevent accidents and restore order on the highway. On the 22nd day of this month, they filed 300 cases under the Road Transport Act against various vehicles on the highway. Out of these 200 cases were due to over speeding. Even after this, reckless speed is not stopping.
Barisal-Dhaka highway Gournadi highway police officer in-charge Sheikh Md. Bellal Hossain said that after the inauguration of Padma Bridge, the competition of vehicles on the highway is increasing. This competition is not only limited to the drivers, but the competition has also increased among the passengers. Who will go first, reaching the destination in two and a half hours to three hours, promotion through social media is increasing the competition of vehicles on highways. And I think it's a sick competition.
He said that despite the inauguration of the Padma Bridge, the width of the roads and highways in the southern region has not increased. The number of vehicles has increased several times. Besides reducing accidents, we are regularly setting up checkposts with speed guns to restore order on the roads. The car slows down on seeing our check post. Again after crossing the check post the speed is increasing.
Stating that there is no alternative to CC cameras to restore order on the highway, the OC said, 'Honorable Prime Minister has shown the impossible by taking risks and making it possible like the Padma Bridge. This highway police official believes that now the expressway and four-lane road in the southern region will bring the accident under control.