The train accident that killed 16 people and injured more than 100 others at the Mandabhag railway station in Brahmanbaria's Kasba on Dhaka-Chattogram railway shows a pale and miserable scenario of our railway system.
The deadly crash was not caused by technical glitches but humans. The driver of Turna Nishitha that crashed into Udayan Express didn't stop at the outer main line despite a signal, according to Mandabhag station master Md Jaker Hossain. The accident took place as the Udayan Express was entering into No. 1 line from the main line when Turna Nishitha slammed into it from the opposite direction. Several compartments of Udayan got damaged due to this. According to the witnesses, several coaches tossed as high as 20 feet. It's not hard to imagine the fate of the passengers in the coaches.
Following the accident, the spot was visited by minister, big officials of the railway, and a probe committee was formed too, as usual. While visiting the spot, railway minister Nurul Islam said, in primary assessment, the accident took place as the driver of Turna Nishitha violated signals. The loco master, assistant loco master and a security guard of Turna Nishitha were temporarily suspended for neglecting duty. A five-member committee has been formed to probe the incident and the government will compensate each of the deceased Tk 100,000 and the wounded Tk 10,000, according to the minister.
The authorities become pro-active and probe committees are formed following any accident, but all the activities lose track at one point. No lessons are even learnt in order to prevent a repetition. In most cases, no one has to account even. A number of 4,798 train accidents took place over the last 10 years that left 408 dead. Four people died as an intercity train derailed in Moulvibazar's Kulaura upazila on 23 June. The railway minister identified holding extra passengers as its reason. But what is the explanation this time? Derailment, wrong signal, and the guard's irresponsibility have become a common phenomenon. A few days ago, passengers along Chattogram-Nazirhat railway had to suffer for an hour as a guard went to visit his relative's house.
Railway is considered as a safe transport across the world, but in Bangladesh this sector has been neglected allegedly to serve a quarter eventually leading to preserve the road transport sector's interest. The railway ministry itself had once been removed. Though the Awami League-government has revived the railway ministry, passenger welfare and security are deteriorating.
The railway minister had made a lot of pledges, but there is no progress in the sector. Accidents are continuing. The ones responsible for the accident and loss of 16 lives must be identified through proper investigation and be punished. We hope that the railway authority will learn its lessons from this and take precautions for the future. The accident has shown us the consequence of negligence and carelessness. Our deepest condolence goes to the mourning families.