At least four rooftop passengers were killed and about 30 people were injured as four compartments of a passenger train on Jamalpur-Dhaka route derailed at Natunbazar of Tongi on Sunday.
Two compartments of Jamalpur Commuter tilted on the tracks following the derailment at about 12:15pm panicking rooftop passengers who jumped off the roof and caused the causalities.
Rail communications between Dhaka and rest of the country but Narayanganj was snapped for more than four hours after the accident causing sufferings to passengers waiting on different trains and stations.
In another accident two schoolboys were killed as a locomotive (train engine) hit a motorcycle in a level crossing near Poradah railway junction in Kushtia on Sunday.
Bangladesh Railway has virtually failed to check rooftop journey of passengers even after repeated fatal accidents.
On February 21, four people were killed and two others were injured as they were dashed against a footbridge just before they fell off the roof of a Dinajpur-bound train at Raninagar railway station in Naogaon.
Lack of enforcement and awareness among people and huge pressure on trains are main reasons behind the accidents, experts said.
Two major reasons behind fatal level-crossing accidents in Bangladesh are huge unmanned level crossings and lack of awareness among people on the use of roads, said experts at Accident Research Institute of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.
At Tongi, three deceased were identified as rickshaw-puller Shahadat Hossain, 35, of Moshakhali village under Gafargaon upazila in Mymensingh, Khokon,
42, of from Gazipur and Amiruddin, 35, of Pagla in Mymensingh.
The identity of the rest of the deceased was yet to be established.
Shahadat’s maternal uncle Aminur Islam, also a rickshaw-puller, told New Age that they boarded on the train’s roof to go to Tejgaon station.
Just before Tongi railway station, last four compartments of the 12-compartment train derailed and two compartments titled on the track, he said.
Shahadat and Aminur jumped off the roof, Shahadat sustained serious injury and died at about 2:00pm at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, he added.
As per primary assumption, the derailment was caused by signal related difficulties, said railways officials.
Dhaka (Kamalapur) Railway police station officer-in-charge Yeasin Faruque said that three died on the spot and one died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where eight more inured were also taken.
Seven injured were admitted to Tongi 50-Bed Hospital and other injured left after taking primary treatment, said Tongi Railway police outpost in-charge Rafiqul Islam.
A case was under process to be filed with Kamalapur railway police station, he added.
Following the accident movement of trains was snapped from and to the capital to rest of the country while rail communication on Dhaka-Narayanganj was normal.
The train communications finally resumed at 4:30pm after the derailed compartments were recovered, said Rafiqul Islam.
Railways minister Md Mazibul Hoque visited the spot and the hospitals.
He told New Age that Bangladesh Railway formed a three-member committee headed by its east zone chief engineer Md Arifuzzaman to investigate the accident and submit report in three days.
Financial assistance would be given to the deceased people’s families and treatment would be given to the injured, he added.
In Kushtia, the deceased were identified as Class-VIII student Ayatullah, 16, son of Md Saidul Hossian and Class IX student Mubin Hossain, 17, son of Md Saidul of Boro Ailchara village under Kushtia sadar upazila.
Poradah railway police station officer-in-charge Mollah Afzal Hossain said that a locomotive from Goalanda was turning to Doulatdia through the junction at about noon.
Motorcyclist Ayatullah tried to pass the level crossing even the level bar was closed down and eventually the engine hit the motorcycle, he said.
Ayatullah died on the spot and Mubin died on his way to Kushtia Sadar Hospital.
The bodies were handed over to the families without autopsy following a request, he said, adding that an unnatural death case was filed in this regard.
According to a report compiled by the Accident Research Institute based on news published in four national dailies, 38 people were killed and 14 were injured in 40 accidents in level crossing in this year till March 27.
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