No zebra crossings are installed in front of primary and secondary schools right beside the highway in Brahmanbaria
Rowshan Ara was a first grade student when she lost her leg in an accident.
She is now a fourth grader studying at the Rajabariakandi Government Primary School of Sarail upazila in Brahmanbaria, but her memory of the tragic incident is still fresh.
"I lost my leg in an accident while I was returning home from school. The vehicles do not even reduce their speed when plying the road in front of the school," Rowshan recalled.
Like Rowshan, many other students and teachers are risking their lives crossing the Dhaka-Sylhet highway adjacent to the schools in Brahmanbaria's Ashuganj, Sarail and Bijoynagar upazilas.
In recent years, some students have lost their lives, while many others suffered severe injuries.
To remedy this, the students and teachers of these schools demanded zebra crossings and foot over bridges along the parts of the highway adjacent to the schools. There are at least 10 primary and secondary schools beside the highway.
The authorities concerned have yet to install even one zebra crossing or over bridge in front of these schools.
The Business Standard found that Ashuganj upazila's Sohagpur Government Primary School, Sarail upazila's Kuttapara High School, Rajabariakandi Government Primary School and Bijoynagar upazila's Rampur Government Primary school are among the highest-risk institutions.
These schools are very close to the highway.
According to the local people, students and the guardians, a bus ran over a seven-year-old Rejaul Karim, while he was returning home from Rajabariakandi Government Primary School last year.
Four years ago, fourth grader Akash Mir broke his leg in an accident in front of the same school. He recovered after several months of treatment. About seven years ago, a student of the Kuttapara High School died after being hit by a bus, while another five students were injured in that accident.
Nishat Moni Tania, a ninth grade student of the Kuttapara High School said, "Our school is located at the east side of the highway. But most of these students reside on the west end. So, many students have to cross the highway regularly."
Nishat demanded a zebra crossing or foot over bridge in front of her school to cross the road safely.
Monir Mia, father of Rajabariakandi Government Primary School student Md Jibon, said that he has to go to work in the morning.
"That is why, I cannot accompany my son to school. I am always afraid for his safety during the school hours," he added.
Dipa Chowdhury, an assistant teacher of the Rajabariakandi Government Primary School said, "Our school is very close to the highway. Students are becoming victims of road accidents as there is no foot over bridge or zebra crossing in front of the school."
When contacted, Brahmanbaria District Primary Education Officer Md Sazzad Hossain said, "Roads and Highways Department can decide where to install zebra crossings or speed breakers. We want schools adjacent to the highways to be free from the risk of accidents."
Brahmanbaria Additional Deputy Commissioner (Education and ICT) Ruhul Amin said the authorities have held development coordination meetings with the Roads and Highways Department officials on the matter.
"Instructions have been sent to the concerned authorities to paint zebra crossings in front of schools," he said.
Shamim Al Mamun, executive engineer of Brahmanbaria Roads and Highways Department said, "The department is planning to install zebra crossings in front of schools adjacent to the highways.
"However, we cannot install anything on the national highways just on a whim."