The High Court today sought a report from the government on the steps it has taken to evict illegal and risky level crossing in order to prevent rail accident.
Secretary to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) has been asked to submit the report before the High Court in three months.
The court also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned of the government to explain in our weeks why they should not be directed to evict all the illegal level crossing and structures in the level crossing areas to save the lives of people from the rail accident.
The High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman came up with the order and rule following a writ petition filed by a Supreme Court lawyer, advocate Syeda Shahin Ara Laily, seeking necessary order in this regard.
Advocate Aklas Uddin Bhuiyan appeared for the writ petitioner.
The petitioner submitted the petition on November 24 this year to the High Court seeking necessary directives on the government authorities to take necessary step to save people’s lives from the unprotected and illegal level crossing across the country.
Citing reports from newspapers and BUET's Accident Research Institute (ARI), the petition said a total of 244 people died and 228 were injured in 235 rail related fatalities in 2018 as many of 1,412 level crossings of Bangladesh Railway have no designated gatemen and are vulnerable.
A total of 69 people died and 46 others were injured in 56 incidents in 10 months (March to December) of 2016 while 229 died and 156 injured in 211 incidents in 2017, but, the authorities have not taken necessary steps to prevent such accidents, the petitioner said in the petition.
Advocate Aklas stated in the petition that only 466 gates among 1,412 level crossings have gatekeepers while 946 gates have no designated man. Among 434 gates in Railway's East Zone, 245 have gatemen while only 221 out of 978 gates in West Zone have guards.
Of the 1,085 unauthorised level crossings, 811 are in East Zone while 274 in West Zone, he said in the petition.
He also said in the petition that the government is supposed to take ensure railway security in order to save lives as per sections 13, 14 and 128 of the Bangladesh Railway Act 1980, the necessary steps are not being taken.
Advocate Aklas told reporters that the HC may hear the petition very soon.