What is particularly disappointing is that a large number of these accidents were entirely avoidable
It is encouraging to see Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordering Bangladesh Railways and the Road Transport and Highway Division to conduct structural surveys to find out bridges and culverts that are potentially hazardous and require maintenance and renovation, and all concerned authorities must heed her words and act accordingly.
Her orders to complete the surveys before the end of the rainy season -- which have been made in light of the tragic derailment of the Upaban Express in Moulvibazar’s Kulaura upazila on Sunday night -- are a stern and timely reminder that there is much work to be done in ensuring that our railways are safe and efficient.
However, beyond the issues of faulty and inadequate maintenance, the general lack of care amongst the concerned authorities has also been a problem, and Bangladesh Railways must look inward to fix these problems.
According to data from the Bangladesh Railway, over the 10-year span between 2007 and 2017, a reported 365 people had died and a further 1,181 were left injured from 2,786 train accidents -- truly shocking numbers, and numbers that a country harbouring economic aspirations such as ours cannot afford to have.
What is particularly disappointing is that a large number of these accidents were entirely avoidable; derailments cause the maximum number of accidents while close to 85% of all accidents in 2015-16 were down to human error.
Therefore, it is about time that Bangladesh -- a nation that will depend heavily on its connectivity in the near-future -- fixes the issues plaguing its railways, and the PM’s orders are a good first step.