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Were Turna Nishita drivers negligent?

  • Published at 11:53 pm November 12th, 2019
Brahmanbaria train md sohag
File Photo: Five separate probe committees were formed to investigate the train accident that occurred near Mondobhag Railway Station in Kasba upazila of Brahmanbaria, in November 12, 2019 Courtesy of Md Sohag

Brahmanbaria Deputy Commissioner (DC) Hayat-ud-Dowla Khan said the train accident in Brahmanbaria occurred as the loco master of the Dhaka-bound Turna Nishita Express from Chittagong did not obey the signal

Top government officials have held the staff onboard the intercity train Turna Nishita Express responsible for the fatal train accident in Brahmanbaria which claimed lives 16 people on Tuesday.

While most top government officials said the loco master of Dhaka-bound Turna Nishita Express from Chittagong disobeyed the signal leading to the accident; the staff onboard the train, however, in their defence, said the turn on the railway track approaching the Mondobagh Railway Station obstructed them from clearly noticing the signal light.

Brahmanbaria Deputy Commissioner (DC) Hayat-ud-Dowla Khan said the train accident in Brahmanbaria occurred as the loco master of the Dhaka-bound Turna Nishita Express from Chittagong did not obey the signal.

Seconding the DC’s comment on the loco master, Mondobagh Railway Station Master Zakir Hossain Chowdhury said: “When the Chittagong-bound Udayan Express train entered the track number 1, the outer and home signals were emitting red lights. But the loco master of Turna Nishita ignored the signals and collided into the last few bogies of the Udayan Express while it was changing its track.”

The accident that also left more than 70 others injured took place near the Mondobagh Railway Station in the Kasba upazila of Brahmanbaria at 2:45am on Tuesday.

But, Abdur Rahman, the guard of the train who was suspended after the accident, over the phone told Bangla Tribune that there is a turning on the track that Turna Nishita was on. 

File Photo: Rescue operation at the scene of the accident near Mondobhag Railway Station in Kasba upazila of Brahmanbaria, in November 12, 2019 | Dhaka Tribune

“At the turning there were bricks piled up, so we could not clearly notice the signal light. However, after crossing the bend, our loco master saw the signal and used the emergency brakes. But the train still crashed into the Udayan Express,” he claimed.

Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan, in this regard, said: “Based on the primary investigation it is currently presumed that the loco master of the intercity Turna Nishita Express was indeed responsible for the accident.”

Loco master Taser Uddin, assistant loco master Apu Dey and guard Abdur Rahman were suspended, said Shariful Alam, senior information officer of the Railways Ministry.

Neither Brahmanbaria district administration nor Bangladesh Railways authorities confirmed if any case was filed in this regard as of the filing of this report at 9pm on Tuesday, nor was there an official confirmation of any detention.

Primary inquiry blamed Turna Nishita driver 

Bangladesh Railways’ Additional Director General Mia Jahan, referring to their primary inquiry, said the Turna Nishita driver ignored the signal, leading to the fatal accident.

“Our primary investigation found that the loco master of Turna Nishita violated the signal, to plough through Udayan Express, severely damaging its last four boggies,” he said.

Following the accident, rail communication on the Dhaka-Chittagong and Chittagong-Sylhet route came to a halt for eight hours. 

Later, upon reaching the Chittagong Railway Station, Udayan Express driver Sanaul Tipu told reporters that they were on the “right track”.

“But Turna Nishita defied the signal intended for it. And we reached well ahead of it at Mondobagh Railway Station (which is near the accident site),” he said. 

Abdul Quaiyum, assistant loco master of the Udayan Express, echoing his superior’s sentiment, said: “Turna Nishita heavily damaged four of our compartments. Among the bogies (from 10 to 13), the 11th was most affected.” 

However, he confirmed that it was immensely foggy during the time the accident took place”