Construction of a railway line in front of two schools along the Ishwardi-Rooppur road in Pabna has made teachers and parents of more than 800 students worried.
Since the line is in front of Sara Gopalpur Government Primary School and Sara Gopalpur High School in Sara Gopalpur village, teachers, students, parents and locals demand a level crossing there.
Authorities completed the land development process for the rail lines last week and the students are worried about their safety.
“After completion of the railway lines, it will become a risky area,” said Ashraful Islam, a student of class-V at the primary school.
Md Rahul, a class-IV student of the same school, said, “We often play outside the school after class. If a railway line is built there, then it will become a restricted area. How will we play then?”
Bangladesh Railway is building the 26.52-km line with a 4.50-km loop to transport necessary materials to the site of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the country's first nuclear power plant in Ishwardi with a production capacity of 2.4 gigawatts.
Md Ishhaque Ali Chowdhury, a villager, said, “As it is a requirement for the government project, the line must be protected. A special gate must be set up as the students use this road every day.”
Mir Shahanaz Dorin, headmaster of the primary school, said the local primary education office had been approached over the matter. In a letter, the school authorities have asked for funds to build a boundary wall to ensure students' safety.
“If they approve, we will build a wall around the schools,” Dorin said.
“We have nothing to say about the construction because the land belongs to Bangladesh Railway,” he added.
When contacted, Md Masud Rana, head teacher of Sara Gopalpur High School, said a railway line had been lying unused in front of the schools since the British era. The new line is being built there.
“We have requested the authorities to set up a level crossing and appoint a gateman for the safety of the students,” Masud said.
Md Ariful Islam, Bangladesh Railway divisional engineer in Paksey, said the railway authorities were concerned about the safety of the students. “We have a plan to set up a level crossing in front of the schools so that the students can safely cross the lines and there will be a gateman as well.”
Ruhul Quddus, in-charge of the Rooppur plant's site office, said the line would be used for the plant only. “No other train will run on this track, so there is nothing to be worried about.”