A PASSENGER travelling on a train roof died after being hit by a girder of the Hardinge Bridge over the Padma at Pakssey in Pabna on Tuesday. This is one of many accidents that have so far happened. During the incident, some others travelling on the train roof became injured as they fell off. Despite repeated warnings, passengers continue to cram train roofs because of lack of adequate number of public transports, especially at festival time.
Lack of seats in trains also forced people bound for Jamalpur, Netrakona, Sherpur, Kishoreganj and Mymensigh to travel on train roof. People are often reported to pay owners of ladders that they use to climb on the train roof at railway stations. About 50 people fell off a train roof after being struck by overhead cable at Shahid M Monsur Ali Station to the west of Bangabandhu Bridge in Sirajganj on September 9, 2016. This time, as reported, the train slowed down as it was nearing the next station; the number of victims could, otherwise, have been higher. There is no gainsaying the fact that lack of seats force thousands of people to travel perched on the train roof. But this has to stop. Many choose this dangerous form of travel to save money. Incidents of people falling off the train roof are notoriously common around Eid time when transport crisis hits the peak as millions rush to outlying areas to celebrate the festival. The unpalatable truth is that people returning to the city after Eid also remain as exposed to accidents as they are during their outbound journeys. The stupendous increase in the levels of public mobility tends to only exacerbate the existing vulnerability of people to this kind of mishaps. All rules take leave of us during Eid holidays and all sorts of blatant violations of safety regulations become the order of the day. This cannot continue to happen. Whatever the case is, the authorities should completely stop people from travelling on the train roof to head off further disaster.
The railway authorities must come out of their apparent indifference to accidents resulting from falling off train roofs and avert such accidents by executing a comprehensive strategy, drawn up on detailed analysis of such events, to bring order into the railway transport system and make train journey safe and sound for people at large. The railway authorities also must make the system of obtaining train tickets easy for passengers or else this kind of accidents by falling off train roofs would remain a recurring phenomenon.
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