Level crossings turn into death traps in Cumilla

6 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

CUMILLA: Unmanned railway level crossings in the district have turned into potential death traps for local residents.

Frequent accidents, especially after dark, have become a cause of concern for residents of the district. They say they are helpless as their repeated complaints to railway authorities have only fallen on deaf ears.

Zahirul Islam, a resident of Lalmai upazila, alleges that several “influential” people have set up illegal structures, including houses and shops, after occupying railway land along the train tracks, reports UNB.

“Because of the presence of these illegal structures, people often fail to spot trains while crossing the unmanned railway crossings. These encroachments are a major reason behind frequent accidents,” he says.

 Every year, a number of people die in rail accidents in Bangladesh, despite trains being considered one of the safest modes of travel. Between 2008 and 2018, some 263 people lost their lives in 297 rail-related accidents, according to official data. Residents of the district, however, say the actual number would be much higher. On December 30, a couple and their daughter died when a train hit their auto-rickshaw in the Shashongacha area of Cumilla.

Saiful Islam, a resident of Nangolkot upazila, says single tracks were extended to double tracks from Laksham point to Chinki under the jurisdiction of the Dhaka-Chattogram railway way back on 2015. “To date, most of the railway level crossings on this route have no gates and gatemen. Railway authorities should address this problem at the earliest,” he says.

Railway authorities say the process to construct a railway level crossing gate at 15 point on Cumilla-Laksham to Brahmanbaria-Akhaura line is underway. A gateman will also be appointed to man the crossing.