THE unmanned level crossings have become virtual death traps. In less than a fortnight two accidents at unattended train crossings have cost more than a dozen lives and caused injury to more than sixty people. The latest occurred on Saturday killing 3 of a family when a locally engineered three wheeler was rammed by a train on a level crossing at Yasinpur in Natore.
The statistics of death and injured due to train-vehicle collision at unattended level crossings is indeed distressing. Reportedly, on the average nearly forty such accidents occur every year resulting in nearly 30 deaths. Even more distressing is the fact that more than 80 percent of the existing 2,500 or so level crossings are illegal. And of the legal level crossings only 15 percent is manned. Little wonder that there are so many accidents.
Over the past several weeks the media have been highlighting this issue in the wake of several such accidents one after the other. No palpable corrective measure has emerged from the railway authorities in this regard.
Admittedly, there are several causative factors, and the railway authorities must delve into these instead of taking refuge of shortage of manpower and illegal crossings. It is for the railways to make up its manpower shortage. It is unacceptable that legal railway crossings should be without gate-keepers. We suggest long and short term measures be worked out quickly, and something must be done with the illegal crossings immediately. There is also need for public awareness and also for severe punishments to gatemen for negligence because many of these mishaps happen due to dereliction of duty on their part, as happened in Kaliganj last week.