Monday, 17 January, 2022

Level crossing deaths preventable

Level crossing deaths preventable

Popular News

Train journey is said to be the safest mode of transport across the country. But, level crossing collisions constitute a significant proportion of the rail toll. Hardly a year passes without minor and major accidents at these vulnerable crossings. At certain spots, a mere signboard is placed by the railway authorities asking people and vehicles to cross the rail lines on their own responsibility. The railways’ lacklustre effort to curb trespassing seems to be a failure as commuters continue to cross the tracks without understanding the risk before crossing the track resulting in loss of valuable lives or major injuries.

Because of this bad practice, in recent times, the number of level-crossing crashes has soared abnormally. According to railway sources, there are 2,668 level crossings in the country. Of them 1,468 are authorised and 1,200 are illegal. Of the authorised crossings, only 564 are guarded while others remain unguarded for years together. It remains a burning question as to how can safety be ensured for trains, vehicles and people crossing these points with one third of the guards? It is the duty and responsibility of the railway authorities to prioritise safety of all at level crossings—both legal and illegal.

As per press reports, at an inter-ministerial meeting held on January 10 last year, it was decided that the authorities concerned would take necessary steps including construction of speed bumps at level crossings, putting danger signs, appointing gatemen, demolishing illegal establishments from both sides of rail tracks, reducing the number of illegal crossings and building overpasses or underpasses in future projects. But, reportedly, neither the railway authorities nor the local government bodies have taken any fruitful measure in this regard.

Proper monitoring and initiatives are essential on the part of the authorities concerned to address the people's life and death issue. There are a few countries in the world except Bangladesh that find their level crossings turning into death traps. The tendency of a section of motor or bike drivers and rickshaw-pullers to cross the railway tracks when trains approach is unpardonable. The relevant authorities should take preventive measures to put an end to unwanted level crossing deaths that are quite preventable.