Overhaul O&M | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 25, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 25, 2008

Overhaul O&M

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SK Enamul Haq

Too many transport accidents at railway road level crossings due to human errors at two points in the system: the road transport driver (untrained, with fake driving licence, and negligence of the railway gatekeeper (depending on unreliable human factors in the system).
The railway signalling system should be automated (in this computer age).
Start with a UN-based pilot project for evaluation; followed by technical assistance. Our EPZs could be used for mass production of parts and components (exportable item).
Now computerization in maintaining leaders and records have reduced scope for corrupt practices and human errors. Crossings in remote areas could have battery power, using small solar panel for recharging.
What are the problems of the management and operators? A serious probe is overdue. The gatekeeper should still be employed, but he should be bombarded with wireless alerts/bells for awareness in the locality. In reality, the preceding regimes utterly neglected the rail and IWT sectors. The engine driver should be able to get signals, and slow down if the gate were open. There are grey areas inside the BRTC offices (public contact points). The passport offices have been recently reorganised.
Also, there are too many accidents on the highways and in the IWT sector.
The causes are well known. Bureaucratic red tape? Another point for future worry: systems losses inside the political regimes. What will happen after the elections?
This brings up another basic issue: why our society is weak in operation and maintenance (O&M)? We note that in the public sector, the SOEs have failed; the banks have no personality; and bureaucracy is still at the pen-pushing stage.
The city corporations and the municipalities cannot work efficiently; and counter services at the government outlets are poor. Who would look after whom? What is the contribution of the so-called inspectors? Restoring to shortcuts all the time cannot be a healthy philosophy of life.
There are two main grey areas: lack of senior technocrats at the secretariat, to properly evaluate technical proposals from the subordinate offices; and, non-transparent political interference, throughout the 5-year tenure of a regime. The latter trait is embedded in the political culture after liberation. That is the reason we now have an ad hoc caretaker government to mother the next general elections. O & M also means organisation & method.
Our IT sector is now well populated by the smart young generation. The political leadership is sick and old. More political 'accidents', not to speak of rail crossings?

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