It was an accident waiting to happen | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 24, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:58 AM, February 24, 2020

It was an accident waiting to happen

Gap between train, platform at Khulna Railway Station puts passengers at risk

With trains arriving and departing and people hopping on and off carriages, Khulna Railway Station is a busy junction.

Over a dozen trains stop at the station on a daily basis, used by hundreds of people. And many a time, they have to board in a hurry after arriving late at the station.

But the wagons rest unevenly higher than the surface of the platform, making it difficult for children and elderly passengers to board a train. As a result, passengers continue to be at risk.

On Saturday, Prof Md Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan, a former Khulna University professor, died after falling under a train when he was trying to get on the moving "Betna Express" at the station.

The incident took place around 6:30am when the 66-year-old teacher lost his balance after stepping on the train and fell into the gap between the train and the platform, said Foyzur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Khulna Railway Police Station.

The professor was a little late to arrive at the station, and as such, had to run after the Benapole-bound train before jumping on board, the police official added.

The station was "modernised" last year, and passengers started complaining about the problem immediately, said Sheikh Ashraf Uzzaman, secretary general of the Greater Khulna Development Sangram Coordination Committee.

Even before the inauguration of the new railway station, people have been demonstrating over the issue and have submitted memorandums to the authorities concerned in this regard, he added.

He said the coordination committee submitted a memorandum to the prime minister through the deputy commissioner on November 12, 2018.

Former station master Manik Chandra Sarker admitted that there is a design fault in the platform and said they had informed the authorities concerned about it.

The railway authorities formed a probe committee over the death of the elderly teacher, said officials.

"Khulna Railway Station is around 130 years old. We had been demanding reconstruction of the platform for a long time. However, even though the station was 'modernised' recently, that did not fix the issue," said Ashraf.

"The teacher died due to the faulty design. His death could have been avoided had the authorities concerned taken steps," he added.

The death of the soil, water and environment discipline professor, who started his career at KU in June 1994 and retired on January 30 this year, also triggered a public outcry, resurfacing the safety concerns.

Many also took to social media to express their apprehensions.

"I condemn the death of a talented teacher due to a faulty platform," said lawyer Farid Ahmed yesterday.

Khulna Awami League leader Mofidul Islam said the death of Prof Bhuiyan has exposed errors in the design.

Visiting the station yesterday, this correspondent found the gap between the train and the platform to be at least 2 feet. People, especially the elderly and children, were struggling to board the train.

"It is really difficult for me to get on and off the train at the station, said Shefaly Majumder of Jashore's Noapara. She said she has been travelling on Khulna-Jashore route for 20 years.

Mokhlesur Rahman of Pabna told The Daily Star that he travels from Ishwardi to Khulna on a regular basis. "I don't have to face this problem at Rajshahi station," he said.

Asked, Bulbul Ahmed, the station master, said there should not be any gap between the platform and compartment. "Hopefully, the inquiry committee will find out the reasons behind the death," he added.

In 2007, the caretaker government took the initiative to remodel Khulna Railway Station and Yard. Ecnec approved it on January 26, 2014 while the construction work began in April, 2015.

However, construction work period was extended till December 2018. The prime minister inaugurated the railway station on March 3, 2018.

Around Tk 60.5 crore was spent to construct it.

Contacted, Talukder Abdul Khaleque, mayor of Khulna City Corporation, said, "The railway authorities should have taken steps about the issue. I will speak to the authorities concerned to fix the problem." 

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