Derailment cuts rail links for 10 hours
The railway communications of Chittagong with Dhaka and Sylhet, which remained snapped for around 10 hours following the derailment of a freight train in Akhaura of Brahmanbaria, were restored around 6:30pm yesterday.
With the yesterday’s incident of derailment, railway communications on the route remained suspended for more than 100 hours in 21 such incidents in the last 11 months, according to sources in the Bangladesh Railway (BR) and newspaper reports.
During the period, Jamaat-Shibir men were reported to have uprooted fishplates, rail tracks, and set fire to wooden plinths, causing derailment on a number of occasions.
They went on the rampage and damaged the railway tracks protesting at the verdicts against the top Jamaat leaders for committing crimes against humanity in the Liberation War in 1971.
Contacted, railway officials did not rule out any such possibility of sabotage in the yesterday’s incident.
An official of the BR (East Zone) yesterday told The Daily Star that they would have to examine the tracks to determine whether yesterday’s incident was an act of sabotage or not.
Sources said six compartments of a goods-laden train veered off the track in between Akhaura Railway Junction and Gangasagor Railway Station around 8:15am.
Dhaka-bound passenger trains ‘Upakul Express’ from Noakhali got stuck at Kasba Railway Station, ‘Mohanogor Prabhati’ in Comilla, and ‘Shubarna Express’ at Kosba, and ‘Chattrala Express’ at Shoshidal.
Chittagong-bound ‘Karnafuli Express’ was stranded at Bhoirab, ‘Chattrala Express’ at Metikanda, and ‘Mohanogor Prabhati’ at Akhaura station following the derailment.
Md Abdul Motalib, superintendent of Akhaura junction, said the derailment had also cut off the rail link with Chandpur and Noakhali.
The train services resumed around 6:25pm after a relief train salvaged the derailed compartments from the track, the railway official added.
In the last eleven months, three persons were killed and 80 others injured in train derailments, the sources added.
Md Tafazzal Hossain, general manager (GM) of Bangladesh Railway (East Zone), said they are unable to carry out maintenance work due to manpower crisis.
“Twelve workers are needed for proper maintenance of five kilometres of rail tracks, while only two are now working there,” he added