It is good news that the government has of late embarked on a plan to construct 238 kilometres of underground rail tracks in Bangladesh as reported by this daily Monday. Also the government is working to upgrade the country’s railway network to world standard so that dependence on road transportation can be minimised. At the moment, bulk of human and cargo transportation takes place by roads despite the hazards of accidents that occur on a daily basis. In comparison, rail travel is much safer, cheaper and more comfortable than road travel. Road accident rate in Bangladesh is one of the highest in Asia. Rail accidents that occur are due to old and dilapidated tracks, engines and bad signalling system.
No significant project has been undertaken
by any governmentof the past
to extend rail-tracks
It is true that the existing railway network in Bengal has been built by the British rulers and since then no significant project has been undertaken by any government of the past to extend rail-tracks. Rather, many smaller stations have been closed down as people now opt for road travel instead of waiting for hours for the train to come. Many of the districts also remain outside of railway network. There is no denying that existing rail engines, compartments and services need to be replaced with modern engines and everything else. But a modern railway does not mean new machinery and equipment only. For the new generation speedy trains we need good and solid tracks and digitalised signalling system as well as well trained manpower. While new generation trained manpower has to be recruited, the mindset of the old staffs will need to be changed and they will need extensive training to be able to operate digitalised modern rail engines and signals.
Like the modern railway system in Europe, we can also have similar transportation facility in Bangladesh. Alongside fast trains what we shall need is quality passenger service with at least 3-star canteen facility in each train. It is welcome news that the government is contemplating introduction of such upgraded system within a short time. We believe our highways are over burdened with more vehicles they can handle, which is causing fatal accidents on a daily basis. In a bid to minimise accidents, we have to opt for rail travel. We hope it will take place soon.