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14 December, 2019 00:00 00 AM

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104 rly stations closed for manpower crisis: Minister

STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka

Railway minister Nurul Islam Sujan yesterday said that 104 railway stations in the country have remained closed since the 1970s due to a manpower crisis. The minister said: “In the 1970s, the manpower of Bangladesh Railway declined to 27,000 from 70,000, forcing the authorities to shut 104 train stations. The workers in factories that produced passenger coaches and wagons dropped from 4,000–5000 to 1,100–1,200.” Sujan was speaking at an event marking the 20th founding anniversary of North Bengal Journalists’ Forum (NBJF) at the Press Club yesterday. “No new appointments have been made since 1986. As a result, there has been a shortage of experienced people,” he said.

Sujan said Bangladesh Railway was operating trains at almost double the capacity of the rail tracks in the country. Explaining the reason behind the scheduled disruption of the North Bengal trains, the minister said: “Bangladesh Railway has the capacity to operate 11 big trains on its tracks. It means 22 trains can be operated here. However, a total of 42 trains are running on these tracks. The number of trains is large compared to the capacity of the railroads. That's why Bangladesh Railway often suffers schedule issues. We are trying to resolve the problem.”

He blamed the poor condition of the railways on negligence of the rail sector after the death of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Sujan said that following the separation of the railway ministry in 2011 by the AL-led government, several projects have been initiated. “From Kamalapur to Tongi there will be four lines, from Tongi to Joydebpur there will be two lines, and from Akhaura to Laksam there will be a double line, which will double the number of lines to Chittagong. The Bangabandhu Bridge will be the new dedicated rail bridge. The dual gas bridge will be the double-line bridge. The Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone in March 2020. The tender process is already complete,” he said.

NBJF president Modabbir Hossain, NBJF general secretary Tofazzal Hossain, Dhaka Journalist Union (DUJ) general secretary Sohail Haider Chowdhury, Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) president Rafiqul Islam Azad, and former DRU general secretary Raju Ahmed, among others, attended the event.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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