Service week begins today

Published:  04:11 AM, 04 December 2019

Railway limps through problems

Bangladesh Railway is in a shambles due to disruptions in train schedules, ticket crises and huge losses caused by a lack of technical and sustainable initiatives, according to experts.

If the railway continues to go for traditional and non-sustainable measures to improve its services, the standard of its services would deteriorate, they added.

It is in such a situation that the railway authorities are observing a service week beginning today to mark the eighth founding anniversary of the railway ministry and with an aim of improving its services.

Disruptions in train schedules have become a common phenomenon. The problem gets severe during the festivals observed in the country. The railway is currently struggling to run trains on the Joydebpur-Ishwardi section through using the existing rail tracks on Bangabandhu Bridge.

At present 42 trains run on the Joydebpur-Ishwardi section via Bangabandhu Bridge. The railway had a capacity of running a maximum of 22 trains on the section in the block system that allows only one train to run between the two stations over the bridge, said railway officials. Recurrent crises of tickets have long been a huge problem for the railway. Passengers have to wait hour after hour in queues and even then they fail to get tickets.

According to the railway authorities, the railway incurred a loss of Tk 1,738.37 crore in the 2018-19 fiscal year, with net operating income being Tk 1,392.48 crore and net operating expenditure Tk 3,130.85. In fiscal 2017-18, the loss was to the tune of Tk 1,431.86 crore.

In 2016-17  it was Tk 1,531.76 crore and in 2015-16 Tk 1,325.20 crore. Professor Shamsul Hoque, former director of the Accident Research Institute under Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), said that formation of taskforces to ensure passenger services was a non-technical and non-sustainable initiative.

Md Shamsuzzaman, director general of Bangladesh Railway, said that the railway did not have schedule problems on routes in the eastern zone and routes inside the western zone but only on the route connecting Dhaka with the western zone.

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