Thursday, December 12, 2019 | ePaper

Train accident: Responsible persons must be punished

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AT least five people, including three women, were killed and more than 100 injured as the Upaban Express -- a passenger train heading to the capital from Sylhet -- derailed on a bridge in Moulvibazar on Sunday night. One of the carriages of it fell into a canal while two others fell close to the canal's banks. Several other carriages were also derailed. The locomotives were old enough and the Railway bridges were also corroded to skirt the load of the overcrowded train, the primary investigation showed.
We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn the untimely death of five innocent passengers who were mostly in sleep at the time of disaster. Of the injured, the condition of about a dozen passengers was stated to be critical. The government should take necessary initiatives so that the injured persons get full-fledged medical facilities.   
We see, the Railway carriages and locomotives remain in bad shape almost often despite million of taka budgetary allocation each year. In an internal estimation, 72 per cent locomotives of Bangladesh Railway already were crossing their economic life while the government has apparently no preparation to meet the immediate necessity.  BR has 178 MG locomotives, of which 139 have crossed their 20-year economic life. And of its 90 BG locomotives, 55 have crossed the age-limit.
So anybody could understand well what the real condition of this sector is. Bangladesh Railways potentially offers a cheaper, safer, and more fuel-efficient means of transport of goods and passengers than roads, but have been held back by lack of investment and ageing and unreliable rolling stock. This sector needs to undergo modernisation. But before that the sector should be free from systematic corruption and embezzlement.
After train accident, Rail Secretary pointed out two likely causes for it. "Either the lines were faulty or the alignments of the coach wheels were disoriented," he said. That means not only the locomotives or carriages; the Rail lines and bridges in many areas are not up-to-the-mark. Whatever the reason may be, we must say the government should properly investigate the accident and bring the responsible persons to book.               

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