Death on roads and railways: Negligence must be punished

Death on roads and railways: Negligence must be punished

The news of 12 persons being killed in a collision between a train and a bus at Joypurhat on Saturday was extremely upsetting. The accident was highlighted in the news and the people were shocked. However, on the same day, 18 persons died in various road accidents in 14 districts of the country. These incidents were not highlighted by the media and neither did these evoke much public reaction. Actually, road accident deaths have become commonplace daily occurrences. Unless many people are killed together in an accident, we are not moved. We simply stare helplessly at the continuing parade of deaths on the streets.

Railway mishaps occur relatively less than road accidents. Even so, the number of railway accidents is not normal. After all, railway is globally considered to be the safest form of commute. The railway accidents that occur in our country are mostly due to a reprehensible lack of responsibility on the part of those concerned. The accident at Joypurhat is exactly that.

Most of the railway accidents in Bangladesh similarly take place at the railway crossings. Vehicles are hit by the trains while crossing the railway lines. According to Bangladesh Railway records, 310 railway accidents took place between 2008 and 2019, in which 281 persons died. Last year alone, 18 persons died in 13 railway accidents.

Most of the railway accidents occur due to the negligence of those on duty at the crossings. Similar to the Joypurhat accident, on 11 October and 9 November respectively, 5 people died and 15 were injured in accidents at railway crossings in Feni and Kaliakoir of Gazipur. The guards at both crossings were reportedly asleep at the time of the accidents.

These railway accidents are indeed road accidents as well. It is while travelling along the road and crossing the railway tracks that the vehicles are hit by the trains. These can also be considered as road accidents and all precautionary measures must be taken to prevent these. The railway department and the concerned road construction authorities need to jointly take strong initiative to increase safety measures at the railway crossings. And there must be legal provision for punishment for negligence of duty if anyone is killed in accidents at the railway crossings.