PERSISTENT indifference to guarding railway crossings is unforgivable. Due to this callous nature, people are killed and maimed, whereas these are avoidable fatalities. Damning statistics have revealed that out of the 2,541 level crossings in the country, 2150 do not have guards. There you have the bone-chilling revelation that accidents are merely waiting to happen. This is a deplorable state of affairs and one that needs to be rectified immediately. It beggars belief that many such poorly-manned level crossings exist inside Dhaka city also, where accidents are more likely to happen due to the concentrated population.
The root of the problem lies in the gap in communication between the respective authorities -- in this case, between the Railway Ministry and both the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) and everybody's business seems to be nobody's business. The planning authorities have failed to coordinate with each other on the construction of level crossings with as many as 1,100 of them violating rules, according to the Railway Secretary. The authorities now need to provide adequate numbers of guards at level crossings to make sure accidents are prevented, especially during the night when accidents are more likely to happen. At the same time, it is also imperative to work around the problem of being short-staffed by deploying guards efficiently, with each crossing having guards by rotation. If the latest series of accidents do not nudge the authorities to act, we wonder what will!