The Financial Express

Fog-covered roads, rivers  

| Updated: December 17, 2020 22:43:31

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
Fog-covered roads, rivers   

Although winter is traditionally a jovial time in this summer-dominant land, it has its many woeful aspects. A few of them veritably blight the otherwise pleasant season. They appear in the form of risk-laden road and water travels in dense fog, collisions of vehicles and vessels on roads and in mid-river, especially during night -- resulting in casualties including deaths. As years go by, these avoidable accidents are witnessing increase in their frequency. The passengers embarking on night-time travels are in continually increasing numbers, so are the mishaps -- minor and fatal. In the unabatedly busy style of life, lots of people opt for travels by night, at times on long routes. Many along with their families. Few of these people have forethoughts about the risks they are taking as they board night coaches and motor-launches. While planning their travels, they seem to remain oblivious to the hazards they might face in these fraught journeys.

There is a troubling aspect of the night travels on highways and river-routes covered in winter fog. Collating all possible causes, experts home in on the dreadful scourge of the recklessness and defiance of both vehicle operators and passengers. The whole situation has come to such a pass that collision on the country's bridges has also emerged as a normal sight. Given this terrible aspect of these night travels, many may have started feeling wary of their buses crossing the long bridges. They include BangabandhuSetu on the JamunaRiver, and the other mid-length bridges. One hopes the PadmaBridge will be spared. This apprehension surfaces due to the uncontrollable rise in the recklessness of highway and in-city motor drivers.

Although the massively built bridges are under the coverage of police patrol and security surveillance, the highways across the country are not. The minor and major accidents are thus blamed by experts on the miserable absence of patrol on roads. On the other hand, the river vessels move on their routes scot-free. This anarchic state prevailing on the highways and river routes calls for stringent measures. Several times in the past, the authorities assured the public of taking proper steps to rein in the malady. Woefully, these assurances have ended up in just forming probe committees after these mishaps caused by loss of visibility due to fog. The results of these 'investigations' rarely see the light of day. This practice still goes on, which, in reality, keeps encouraging the defiant drivers and 'sarengs' to operate their transports at will.

Hundreds of passengers receive grievous injuries and meet untimely deaths in winter fog-induced accidents every year. Ironically, it doesn't stop the rise in the number of debilitating injuries and deaths of people. The country at present has a broad network of highways -- national, regional and local. The same applies to launch routes. With increase in highways and river routes, the number of vehicles and water transport also keeps rising. So do the passengers. The scenario may delight the development enthusiasts. But in the Bangladesh context, the pragmatists may define these signs of progress as ineffectual. The logical solution to this lackadaisical situation can, thus, be arrived at by streamlining the whole land and river traffic's movement -- especially during the foggy winter nights.

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