Throwing stones at passing trains is no fun. It is potentially a fatal act. Even a small stone thrown at a train travelling at high speed can endanger the lives of its driver and passengers. In most cases, a section of mindless young boys, living in places along the railway tracks, are found to be involved in stone-throwing. These boys often come on the rail line, run off and then throw stones at speeding trains. While doing so they remain unaware of the danger they have put themselves in and also the passengers and railway employees on board. The Bangladesh Railway (BR), according to the railway secretary, suffers, on an average, an annual loss of Tk.17.5 million on account of damage caused to train doors and windows and injuries to its employees and passengers.
In an estimated 150 incidents of stone throwing in both east and west zones of BR, about 2000 doors and windows of trains were damaged and 14 people injured in 2017. While briefing newsmen about the growing menace of stone-throwing, the BR high official, however, said incidents that usually occur at certain spots, are non-political in nature. Thus, it is clear that some young boys have been resorting to the offence without being aware of the consequences. While involving themselves in such a criminal act, these errant youths are even endangering their own life, at times, coming on the railway tracks.
The loss that the stone-throwing boys cause to the doors and windows of trains may not be a big issue for the BR, the state rail company. But the loss of life of a passenger or a BR employee is irreparable for the family concerned. If a stone hits the head of an individual sitting on the running train, his or her injuries may prove to be fatal. It is understood from the statements of the relevant authorities that such thoughtless acts on the part of a section of youths have been going on for past many years.
Though belatedly, the railway ministry has come up with a two-pronged strategy -- initiating administrative actions and creating awareness among the people -- to deal with the problem. It has already requested the administration of districts and upazilas, where such incidents usually occur, to take measures for preventing the act of stone-throwing. Its second action--- creation of social awareness -- being more important, has the potential of bearing fruits.
It is certainly the primordial responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that their children or wards do not take part in any act of vandalism. Youths, by nature, are prone to resorting to rash actions, not being aware of unpalatable outcomes. So, parents and guardians do need to make their young children aware of the consequences of their wrong actions and try to keep them engaged in good deeds.
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