Unauthorised level crossings have become a death trap in Feni district where nine people were killed in the past seven months, thanks to the dereliction of the authorities concerned.
Every year, a number of people die in rail accidents in Bangladesh, despite trains being considered one of the safest modes of travel. In 2021, some 147 people lost their lives in 123 railway accidents, according to the official data of Road Safety Foundation released in January, 2022, reports UNB.
Many people have died in train accidents in Bangladesh and a number of probe bodies were formed to look into the accident but the authorities concerned have only fallen on deaf ears.
The recent Mirsarai train accident on Dhaka-Chattogram rail route is an example of the sheer negligence of the rail authorities.
Twelve tourists including students were killed when a speeding express train rammed into the microbus carrying the tourists at a level crossing in Mirsarai upazila on July 29.
The gateman was suspended after the accident, having been absent from his post at the time of the accident. But unmanned level crossings are not a rarity in Feni.
Local sources said there are 12 unauthorised level crossings on the Dhaka-Chattogram route in Feni and the 23-km route stretching from Sashardi to Muhuriganj has 21 authorised level crossings.
Sub Assistant Engineer of Railway East, Riton Chakma, said people are stretching roads over the rail crossing as per their wish and most of the unapproved level crossings are in Muhuriganj - where there are six unmanned level crossings.
Muhuriganj point on Dhaka-Chattogram rail route has been identified as a risky level crossing as no gatemen were even appointed in the six unauthorised level crossings, he said.