At least three people, including a driver, were killed and 11 were injured when a train hit a shallow engine-driven illegal vehicle at a level crossing in Sholakura under Jamalpur union in Baliakandi upazila in Rajbari, on Friday afternoon.
The driver of vehicle, locally known as ‘kotang’, was killed in the accident while the rest of the victims were passengers of the vehicle and workers of Razzaq Jute Mill under Madhukhali upazila.
The level crossing was unauthorised and it neither had any gate barrier, nor a gateman, said police officials.
The deceased were identified as the vehicle driver Imran Sardar, 20, son of Elem Sardar of village Baghutia under Baharpur union in Baliakandi, Sarwar Sheikh, 22, son of Shahid Sheikh of village Baghutia and Shakil Sheikh, 22, son of Shukur Ali of village Talshi Barat.
Baliakandi police station officer-in-charge AKM Azmal Hossain told New Age that the jute mill workers were on their way home from Madhukhali by the shallow engine-driven van.
The Kalukhali-Bhatiapara express train hit it when the vehicle was trying to cross the level crossing around 12:30pm, he said.
The train dragged away the kotang for about a kilometre.
The vehicle could only be separated after the train had been stopped, the officer said.
AKM Azmal Hossain said the injured were sent to Faridpur Medical College Hospital.
The level crossing went straight through the road which had no gate barrier or gateman, he added.
In recent times, the number of accidents and deaths on the rail tracks running through locality is on the rise as about 81 per cent level crossings are unmanned, said officials.
According to the Bangladesh Railway, there are 2,497 level crossings across the country, of which 1,412 are approved by the railway and the rest 1,085 have been constructed without approval.
Only 466 of the level crossings (about 19 per cent) have gatekeepers, railway document shows.
Currently a huge number of modified utility vehicles are running all over the country to carry passengers and goods even on highways defying Road Transport Act, 2018 and a government ban imposed in 2015.
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