No end to level crossing catastrophe in sight?

Railway authorities must translate their words into action

Published : 30 Jul 2022 08:55 PM

Is there no way to put an end to the catastrophe on level crossings? Will such deadly accident continue to occur across the country? Will the authorities concerned remain silent spectator for years and count how many people meeting the tragic end of their lives on the railway level crossings?

It is unfortunate that the country is losing its people to such disaster on level crossing almost throughout the year, most of which are avoidable. The Thursday’s death of six students, four teachers and driver of the microbus is one of the latest examples.

A total of 11 passengers of a microbus were killed and five others injured as a train rammed their vehicle at a rail crossing in Mirsharai upazila of Chattogram on Friday. All of the deceased were students and teachers of a coaching center called ‘R and J Plus’ located in Aman Bazar area of Hathazari upazila of the district. They were on their way back after visiting Khaiyachhara waterfall when the Dhaka-bound Probhati Express train hit their microbus and dragged it for at least one kilometer.

We hope any such negligence would not be tolerated 

in the future and railway officials and employees would be 

more responsible, transparent and accountable

The gateman, who was supposed to discharge his duty, was not present during the accident. Police arrested the gateman and authorities of railway formed a probe body to investigate the deadly accident like in the past.

In most cases, the accidents took places in the past due to unmanned level crossing. When such deadly accident occurs, the railway ministry calls upon all the authorities concerned to take necessary steps in a coordinated and disciplined manner in a bid to ensure safe level crossing. Besides, the ministry also comes up with promises that they would strengthen its monitoring and take all-out steps to put an end to accidents on level crossing. 

But the fact is that the authorities concerned do not do so. We did hardly see any master plan and the goodwill of the authorities to control accidents on level crossing. We wonder why the attention of the railway authorities would have to be drawn frequently to force them to come up with effective steps. 

How can we awake them to what potentially needs to be done in this regard?  This is a matter of grave concern as the railway authorities are still in deep sleep. Many of its officials and employees are indulged in corruption, irregularities, and mismanagement. Therefore, negligence of railway officials, employees and gatemen in discharging duties should be dealt with an iron hand to save lives.

We hope any such negligence would not be tolerated in the future and officials and employees would be more responsible, transparent and accountable. Therefore, the safe system approach to the level crossing safety aims to ensure a safe transport system for all users is a must right now.