Accident on rail lines across the country continues to take place mainly for the careless use of mobile phones by pedestrians while walking or crossing railways.
Railway police said one person is crushed to death by train in the capital every day on average.Over 400 bodies were recovered from rail tracks across the country with their earphones into the ears in the last three years until 2017, railway headquarters sources said.
Around 2,100 people were crushed to death by trains across the country in 2017, they added.
At least 307 passers-by died after being hit by trains on the Narayanganj-Bangabandhu Bridge route alone in 2018.
Nearly 40 percent of the total rail accident fatalities are caused because of talking over mobile phones and listening to songs with earphones while walking or crossing rail tracks, they also said.
Many alleged that railway authorities and the administration did not take proper initiatives to fend off accidents on rail tracks.
Besides, strolling, sitting, playing, setting up of shops beside rail tracks are also responsible for fatal accidents.Experts said many people, especially youths, use cell phones and wear earphones or headphones while walking or crossing railroads, endangering their lives.
It is necessary that the government, mobile phone operators and handset makers should take initiative to increase awareness among people, they added.
The Railways Act, 1890 provides that Section 144 always remains in force around 10 feet on both sides of rail tracks. Therefore, trespassing within the 10 feet is illegal.
On January 19, a young man was crushed to death by a Demu train in Sholoshahar area of Chattogram city. The victim was identified as Shahin Alam of Dinajpur.
The accident occurred while Shahin was walking along rail tracks and talking over mobile phone, said Zakir Hossain, in charge of Sholashahar Railway Police Outpost.
Mohammad Yasin Faruk, officer-in-charge of the Government Railway Police, told the daily sun, “Walking along rail tracks wearing headphones or talking over cell phones is the main reason behind many accidents.”
“Around 40 percent of the total accidents take place due to the careless use of mobile phones while walking along rail tracks,” he added.
“Some victims couldn’t hear trains when they were talking over mobile phones or listening to songs.”
The police officer also said, “Khilkhet, Kuril, Banani, Mohakhali and Gendaria are accident-prone railway crossing areas.”
An official of Bangladesh Railway said, “According to the law, trespass within 10 feet of railway tracks is illegal. But, people don’t follow the rules.”
“We distribute leaflets and use loud speakers to make people aware of such accidents. There is no alternative to raising public awareness.”
Professor Dr Mohammad Mahbub Alam Talukder of Accident Research Institute (ARI) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, told the daily sun, “The number of accidents on railways and roads have increased due to careless use of cell phones and headphones.”
“Mobile operators and electronic device manufacturers should create public awareness on refraining from using mobile phones while crossing or walking railroads.”
He fears that such accidents may increase alarmingly as there is no awareness programmes to prevent people from using cell phones on the streets or rail lines.
Kazi Shifun Newaz, an associate professor of the BUET working at the university’s Accident Research Institute (ARI), told the daily sun, “There are shops, bazaars and slums beside railway tracks. That’s why this kind of accidents occurs. “
“To stop the accidents, train lines should be separated. No establishment should be set up beside railway lines,” he suggested.
He also stressed the need for raising awareness among people to escape such accidents.