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Dhaka Tribune

Runaway train

Update : 19 Apr 2013, 05:52 PM

The recent rail accident that took place in Dhaka should act as a clear reminder that the pertinent authorities must take immediate action to reform our public transport networks.

While it is no secret that Bangladesh is not known for having a great railway system, the accident is a stark reminder that the problem can no longer be ignored. Not only do such accidents result in a tragic loss of life, their effects are also felt in the economy, and in the road networks that surround the accident sites.

The fact that freight trains move through a densely populated and poorly planned city is ludicrous to begin with. The rail link that passes through Dhaka is not necessary; there could easily be separate stations in the north and south of the city that provide connections to the rest of the country accordingly, linked by a line that bypasses the city itself.

This would do away with the need to have a national railway line running through the capital.

Within the Dhaka city limits, the only trains that should run are intra-city trains, or, even better, sky trains, or underground trains, for the best use of available space. Essentially, the kind of commuter trains that would ease the awful congestion Dhaka faces every day.

The railway administration is quick to make complaints about a lack of both skilled personnel and actual trains, but what they seem to forget is that it is their responsibility to develop and implement initiatives that address these issues.

The government, as a whole, needs to do its part in supporting positive initiatives put forth by railway authorities and ensure that the resources necessary to keep this vital system running are available as and when required. It falls to the public to hold them accountable.

It shouldn’t take much to avoid these kinds of careless accidents. We, as a people, and the government that represents us, have just become apathetic to these issues. Until these accidents occur and show us the folly of our apathy.

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