At least 102 pedestrians were killed in the past three years, between September 2018 to September 2021, while crossing roads at different turns and intersections in the port city of Chattogram.
Besides, more than 250 people sustained major injuries in road accidents, which was mainly due to an absence of foot-over bridges, reckless driving, and lack of knowledge of pedestrians, according to the Chittagong Medical College Hospital and the police outpost there.
"Every day, many people are admitted to the hospital after getting into road accidents. The majority of the accidents occur at Bahaddarhat, Gate-2, GEC Circle and Lalkhan Bazar intersections," said Nurul Alam, in-charge of police outpost at the hospital.
He told The Business Standard that they keep a record of the accidents and casualties and inform police stations concerned for further steps.
Meanwhile, the Chattogram City Corporation has recently identified 50 dangerous turns and road crossings, where foot-over bridges are a must.
The 156-square kilometre city in which nearly 60 lakh people live has only six foot-over bridges, according to the city corporation. Moreover, those remained unused, often accumulating rubbish. Besides, drug-addicts can also be seen occupying the bridges.
"We have taken a Tk4 crore project to build 28 more foot-over bridges in the city. We already sent a proposal in this regard to the ministry concerned for approval," said Rafiqul Islam, chief engineer at the corporation.
Some of the 50 dangerous crossings are: Nayabazar, Sagarika, Saltgola, Cement, Nasirabad, Oxygen, Ispahani, Dewanhat, Badamtoli, Banani, AK Khan and Tigerpass.
Visiting some of the intersections in the last several days, people were found having trouble crossing the roads amid speeding traffic.
Traffic police were seen struggling to handle the high flow of vehicles.
In the Newmarket area, the foot-over bridges were found occupied by hawkers, leaving a very narrow space for pedestrians. At the GEC circle, people were seen crossing the road through the narrow gaps in the under-construction flyover.
The situations were almost the same in other busy areas.
Talking to this correspondent, locals said they felt very unsafe while crossing the roads, but they had no alternative.
"Every day, few people face major or minor accidents while crossing roads. So, we are always at risk. We badly need foot-over bridges," said Nurul Islam, who resides near Meridian Hotel.
"We worry about our children as the roads are very busy now," said Morshedul Islam, another city dweller.
Reckless driving on roads
Vehicles going above the speed limit and numerous non-compliance with traffic rules, along with a growth in the number of modes of transport, have contributed to rising road accidents.
Currently, 2.72 lakh registered vehicles of different sizes, excluding rickshaws, are plying the roads, according to the Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) and the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority.
Of those, 3,879 are buses, 35,000 are private cars and the rest are trucks, covered vans and other types of vehicles.
Besides, there are over one lakh unregistered vehicles and more 20,000 which come from outside the city.
"Almost 70% of the drivers are using fake driving licences and are incompetent, which is the major reason behind frequent road accidents," said Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury, secretary-general of the Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity.
However, Chattogram Inter-District Bus Owners' Association General Secretary Kafil Uddin said, "We are instructing our drivers and helpers to comply with traffic rules."
Meanwhile, Shyamal Kumar Nath, additional commissioner (traffic) of the CMP, told The Business Standard that they were continuing drives against non-compliant drivers on roads.