At least 322 persons including children and women were killed and 759 others injured in 272 accidents on different ways including highways, railways and waterways across the country during the Eid journey. Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, an organization that works for passengers' rights, revealed the statistics yesterday at a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU).
Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, Secretary General of the organization, brought the statistics in front the reporters saying that 254 persons were killed in 214 road accidents, 25 persons died and 63 others were injured in 15 accidents on the waterways, while 43 others were killed in separate accidents on the railways.
Mozammel said, "Accident Monitoring Cell of the organization produced the statistics after observing different media reports published in 13 days, also before and after the Eid over different accidents. In the study report, information of different accidents occurred between August 28 and September 9 have also been mentioned. He said, "Country's mass-media earlier published several news items expressing fear of immense sufferings to the commuters and possibility of occurring fierce accidents on different routes during the Eid journey. But, the authorities concerned did not pay heed to this saying that there is no possibility of suffering for the holidaymakers. The sufferings and accidents were also observed a little bit less during the journey to homes before Eid. But, the measure of sufferings and accidents increased during the returning journey to Dhaka after Eid.
The monitoring cell followed 22 national dailies, six regional dailies and 10 online news portals to prepare the statistics. According to the observation of the organization, dilapidated condition of roads and highways, reckless driving by the untrained drivers, dangerous styles of overtaking and plying of unfit vehicles were main reasons behind the frequent accidents.
Alongside, plying of different illegal three wheelers including Nasiman-Kariman and Bhutbhuti, plying of battery-run rickshaws and movement of the pedestrians through the roads for illegal occupation of footpaths were also responsible.
Jatri Kalyan Samity also presented some recommendations for the authorities concerned aiming to reduce accidents and killings. It recommended forming accident prevention cell by Road Transport and Bridges Ministry, taking initiatives to control the speed of transports, arranging separate lanes on the highways for high-speed and low-speed transports, ensuring standard quality of road construction and renovation, conducting audit for road safety and installing road dividers to make journey smooth.
The organization stressed the need for providing training to drivers, constructing pedestrian-friendly footpaths, installing zebra crossing, overpass and underpass, and ensuring ply of fit transports. The organization leaders urged the authorities concerned to take immediate steps to stop plying of illegal three wheelers including Nasiman-Kariman and Bhutbhuti on the highways to avert accidents.
Mozammel further said, "Country's roads and highways have now turned into death traps due to chaotic and ramshackle condition, severe mismanagement of the authorities concerned and lack of proper law and its application. Consequently, the number of deaths on the roads and highways is increasing along with rising of the traffic congestion and sufferings of the commuters in an equal proportion.
PSC former Chairman Ikram Ahmed, journalist Abu Sayeed Khan, former Director of Accident Research Institution of BUET Dr Mahbub Alam Talukdar and Joint Secretary of Road Transports Workers' League Hanif Khokon, among others, were present there.
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