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11 December, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Railway ministry firm on extra efforts to curb accidents

Railway Service Week concludes today
RAFIQUL ISLAM AZAD, Dhaka
Railway ministry firm on extra efforts to curb accidents

The railway ministry is currently observing its traditional service week, which ends today, to improve passenger services at a time when a spate of train accidents have rocked the faith of commuters in Bangladesh Railway. Experts say the railway department should ensure quality services across the sector to reduce the number of train accidents and to treat the passengers better. They appreciate the ongoing ‘Railway Service Week’ from December 4–11 and stressed the need to take proactive steps to digitise the railway system. They also demand proper maintenance of the existing set-up. The authorities must take care of loco masters, ensure maintenance of weak tracks, and remove human errors in point-setting and signal-setting to reduce the number of train accidents, they add.

The railway authorities, however, promised to make extra efforts to curb the number of such accidents and improve passenger services. According to Accident Research Institute (ARI) at BUET, a total of 122 people were killed and 296 others wounded in 103 rail-related incidents this year till July 15, including an accident in Moulavibazar on June 23 that killed five persons. With the November 12 fatal accident at Kasba in Brahmanbaria that killed 16 people, the death toll now stands at 138 this year alone.

ARI director Prof. Md Mizanur Rahman said the initiative  to observe ‘Railway Service Week’ is appreciable, but the authorities should take effective measures to reduce the number of train accidents.

He also said the authorities should take proactive measures as per the recommendations made by the investigation committees formed after the recent train accidents to prevent such incidents in future.

The ARI boss mentioned that many of the railway tracks across the country are very weak and should be properly maintained.

BUET associate professor Shifun Newaz said the railway authorities should restrict a person without a ticket from entering railway station platforms during Railway Service Week. He suggested the introduction of online tickets,  proper training to loco masters, and modernisation of railway services.

Railway ministry secretary Md Mofazzel Hossain said 10–15 task forces have been looking after the standard of the railway services. “Railway Service Week is being observed to mark the founding anniversary of the railway ministry. We want to provide better railway services to passengers throughout the year,” he added.

He also said the railway ministry would take steps to reduce the number of train accidents.

The programmes on the occasion of Railway Service Week include the formation of 10 task forces in coordination with the railway ministry and railway officials, monitoring train schedules, and supervision of railway platforms and overbridges.

Medical services will be provided to passengers at the stations adjacent to the railway hospitals during the service week. Besides, task-force officers will take necessary steps to prevent the black marketing of tickets. Major train crashes often take place due to collision and unauthorised level crossings. Records show that most of the train accidents occurred due to derailment. Data shows that at least 202 accidents took place in FY2018-19.

The number of mishaps that occurred during the last fiscal year was more than that in the two previous years. A total of 89 incidents had taken place in FY2017-18 and 80 in FY2016-17. About 89 per cent of the fatalities caused by train accidents happened at level crossings. About 2,000 out of 3,200 railway level crossings in the country are unauthorized. In total, 2,988 train accidents took place in the last 12 years until June 30 this year. In the 11 years till the end of FY2017–18, 305 such incidents involved trains ramming into obstructions, while 21 were due to collisions.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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