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DEMU train service closed, money spent for repair

By N Bijoy
Published : 10 Jul 2024 10:36 PM | Updated : 12 Jul 2024 07:05 PM

Despite closure of the service, Bangladesh Railway has spent over Tk five crore for out of order diesel-electric multiple unit (DEMU) trains, shows an audit report of the Bangladesh Railway.

It was discovered that Bangladesh Railway spent Tk 2.98 crore in 2019-2020 fiscal for repairing and spent DEMU trains and Tk 2.47 crore in 2021-2022 for diesel and procuring spares.  

The issue was discussed during a recent meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on railways ministry. 

With an assurance of providing high-class service, the government procured 20 sets of demu trains from China at a cost of Tk 645 crore in 2013 to carry passengers in short distance. 

Railway sources said each train is supposed to run about 25 to 30 years. But, the fact is that these trains have not run for even five years, resulting in closure of the service since 2019. 

According to the audit report, the offices of Parbatipur of Dinajpur and Paharpur of Chattorgram wasted about Tk 5.45 crore in the two fiscal years in the name of repair.

The report held the Pahartali and Parbatipur operations managers (diesel) responsible for the irregularities. But the report did not mention the names of the two officers.

Sources in the railway said some seven demo trains were lying idle at the loco shed at Kamalapur in Dhaka while 12 in Chattogram and Lalmonirhat sheds. 

Only one demo train is running on the Chattogram-Dohazari route. But that service is also irregular.

As per way and works manual of Bangladesh Railway, the life span of each locomotive is 20 years and authorities concerned runs the repairing works on scheduled time to make it functioning. 

The audit report mentions that the officials of Pahartali and Parbatipur involved in massive irregularities while running the repairing work of dysfunctional demu trains. 

The Parbatipur Office in 2020 signed an agreement with Messrs Samsuddin Engineering Works to repair the locomotives.

The report says that in 2019-20 fiscal, Parbatipur and Pahartali offices spent Tk 2.98 crore for repairing demo trains while Chattogram office spent Tk 2.90 crore for the repairing of five demo trains in 2021-22 fiscal. 

The Parbatipur Office also paid over eight lakh to Samsuddin Engineering Works for the repairing work in 2019-20 fiscal. The audit  report mentions that although each locomotive has a 20-year life span, they run the repairing works within seven years. Important parts of the locomotive were changed in the name of repairing, it said, adding that the offices showed expenditure despite the closure of the service. 

According to the report, some 1712 litre oil and 322 litre lubricating oil were issued against two sets of demo trains despite closure of the service. Some Tk 2.45 crore was also spent for procuring parts of these two sets of train.

When asked about the corruption, Transparency International Bangladesh executive director Iftekharuzzaman told the Bangladesh Post that corruption takes an institutional shape in railway.

“The total amount for the demo trains has been wasted,” he said.

Asked about the audit report, Bangladesh railway rolling stock department, involved with repairing the demo trains, additional director general Partha Sarker told the Bangladesh Post that they would apprise of the audit department.