Bangladesh court bans rooftop train travel


A Bangladesh court on Thursday banned people from travelling on train roofs – a common sight in the country during peak holiday periods – in an effort to prevent passenger deaths, a prosecutor said.

A bench of two High Court judges, Nazrul Islam Talukder and Khizir Hayat, passed the order as part of a clampdown on corruption in Bangladesh Railway (BR) – the state-run rail monopoly.

People climb onto carriage roofs in the South Asian nation to avoid buying tickets – or when demand soars during major Islamic festivals, when tens of millions of people return to their villages.

The practice is high-risk, with travellers regularly killed falling from trains or hitting overhanging trees or low-clearance bridges on the country's 3,600-kilometre (2,200-mile) rail network.

Railway staff are said to accept bribes to allow rooftop access.

Justice Talukder said that trains were public properties and not a tool to earn extra money, reported Bengali daily Jugantor.

"Those who are going on the roof or standing, are they not paying any money? It is a kind of corruption," he told the court.

BR staff were ordered to enforce a total ban on rooftop train travel, and deputy Attorney General Amin Uddin Manik told AFP action could be taken against railway officials in the event of violations.

"After today's high court order, trains cannot riskily carry extra passengers on the rooftop from now on," Manik said. (AFP)

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