DERAILMENT of nine bogies of an inter-city train on Bangabandhu Bridge by norwester storm on Sunday night gives a shocking jolt as to how close to disaster the accident went.
Please note that 14 people died and crops in four districts were damaged through the storm. That itself was a heavy toll, but had the wind blown the other way the precariously derailed train would not have tilted towards the bridge's side; instead , it would have fallen into the river. Thus providence saved a colossal loss in human and material terms.
Following the incident, train communication remained suspended between Dhaka and northern districts for about 16 hours. Consequently, some twelve trains commuting to and from the northern districts, carrying several hundred passengers, got delayed.
Responding to the mishap the Railway ministry has formed a four-member committee headed by an additional director general of infrastructure. We wonder whether it's merely a ritualistic step! Since the structural flaw of the railway tracks is manifest in its fragile railings on the river side, standard fortifications were sorely lacking.
This brings to bold relief the weaknesses in the design of the railway tracks which in fact is a reflection of the poor contingency risk assessment in regard to a vital part of an important infrastructure.
Our hope is that the probe committee will come out with recommendation for urgent fortification of railway tracks and the government will implement its suggestion sooner rather than later.