• Wednesday, Apr 08, 2020
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Railway casualties: 209 dead in first six months of 2019

  • Published at 09:34 pm July 10th, 2019
File photo: Locals come to the rescue after bogies of Upaban Express train derailed at Baramchal in Moulvibazar’s Kulaura upazila on Monday, June 24, 2019 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The number of casualties in rail accidents has seen an increase

At least 209 people were killed in more than 200 railway accidents across the country in the first six months of 2019, said a new study.

The deaths include 47 women, and 21 children, said the Shipping and Communication Reporters’ Forum (SCRF). 

The forum published the outcome of its study through a media release on Wednesday.

The SCRF collected the figures from 22 Bangla and English news dailies, 10 regional newspapers, and eight online news portals.

Ashis Kumar Dey, president of the platform, said they have identified five reasons for the accidents that contributed to the deaths.  

The reasons were - crossing rail lines while talking over a cell-phone, rashness among pedestrians, railway staff’s apparent negligence in duty, rundown railway tracks and bridges, and careless driving by locomotive operators. 

With hand-held devices becoming more and more common around the world, this is being recognized as a threat on roads, and railway tracks in the Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, AFP in a June 27 report said that at least 535 people were killed since 2010 after being hit by trains while wearing headphones on the tracks in, and around Dhaka.

According to the report, the mostly unfenced railway lines of Bangladesh see nearly 1,000 fatal accidents or suicides annually.

Highlighting the rising death figures involving people wearing headphones on the tracks, police in Bangladesh said  "headphone walkers" have become a new menace as people walk on the tracks listening to music or talking on mobile phones using earphones.

"Walking on railway tracks, and putting on headphones is banned in the country. Still a lot of people ignore the ban, and are killed by trains," Dhaka rail police chief Yeasin Faroque Mozumder was quoted as saying.

In spite of repeated attempts to scale up safety through institutional, and budgetary support, the number of casualties in rail accidents has seen an increase over the years.