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They would not have died if a railway guard were at the crossing

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10th-Jan-2017       
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IT could have been just another locally bound domestic train, but not the Kolkata-bound Maitree Express train to have caused an easily avoidable accident. The calamity has not only snatched away the lives of five people but had ended in disrupting Dhaka's train communications with Kolkata and the northern part of the country for hours. Thankfully, the scale of the disaster could have been bigger since a part of the car stuck to the railing of a Bridge as the rest fell off the bridge. Rather frightfully after crossing the bridge a compartment of the train too was derailed. International passengers too could have been victims while tarnishing the safety reputation of the Maitree express.

However, it is the reported cause of the accident that appears unacceptable on all counts. The calamity struck when the car was crossing the rail tracks through the level crossing. Such poignant disaster can only take place at rail crossing without proper signalling system. Officials admitted that the level crossing was unmanned and that it didn't have a boom barrier either. Such admissions should come prior disasters and not later. If, however, there were none in the said crossing then who is to be blamed for such unanticipated tragedy? Though a four-member probe body has been formed over the accident that killed five people, including two children, at Goalbathan rail crossing at Gazipur's Kaliakoir, but the time has come to bring all rail-crossings of the country under the traffic safety scanner and therefore evaluate their current signaling and safety status.

The point is simple, irrespective of its location why should a rail crossing be built without taking on crucial safety and signaling system? Moreover, in terms of ensuring safe crossing of private vehicles what is our rail authority doing?

We not only want the rail authority to install a barrier and a signaling system at Goalbathan rail crossing but in fact draw lessons so to secure all rail crossings in the remote corners of the country. In fact, the signal and barrier should have been installed right then, when a man was reportedly killed in the said crossing a few months ago. Why wasn't his death taken as an eye-opener?

The latest accident was not only preventable, but also reveals the lackadaisical functioning of the local rail authority too. We believe, the railway's all domestic stations and junctions should regularly upgrade and also inform their signaling and safety measures to their highest quarters so to deter possible disasters.

We expect the concerned rail authority for the Goalbathan jurisdiction to be held accountable for the unexpected accident. We also expect to see the negligent rail employees aptly punished and suspended from their duties, and if necessary, put behind bars. The unfortunate problem is that the government employees do not feel any accountability. So, it is wishful to say that they will take responsibility for such death(s) in future. Those killed have been murdered by the railway guard who failed to be on duty. If unmanned then the whole department should take the responsibility. The citizens should start suing the authority for negligence and claim damage.

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