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DEMU trains nearly out of operation

Published : 03 Dec 2021 10:00 PM | Updated : 04 Dec 2021 02:43 PM

Diesel-electric multiple unit (DEMU) trains, purchased to operate in short distance, are now out of operation.

Out of the total 20 DEMU trains, only four or five of them are now in operation.

To get the rest of them in operation, the authorities concerned are planning to repair them. The cost of repairing these obsolete DEMU trains is almost the same as buying new ones.

However, the Railway Minister said that they are thinking of starting the DEMU train using local technology.

When contacted, Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said, “These trains were operated in long-distance routes which was the biggest mistake. This is one of the reasons why these DEMU trains broke down early.” 

These trains were originally purchased for short distances (20-km) operation like from Dhaka to Narayanganj. But they were operated for more than 90 kilometers on average. As a result, within a few days of the inauguration, one train after another began to be inoperative.

According to railway information, to repair those trains no spare parts would have to be imported. Using local experts and technology those trains can be brought into operation again.   

In this regard, the minister said, “It is possible to make those train spare parts in the country without importing them for repairs.” 

A senior railway official on condition not to be named said, “Each demu can accommodate 149 people sitting and 151 people standing. But when the demus are inaugurated, each train begins to carry twice the capacity of passengers. These short distance trains carry passengers at a distance of one to 150 kilometers. This is the main reason why the trains broke down in a short time.” 

However, experts said that this idea is unlikely to be effective. 

The Demu train was launched on April 24, 2013 to reduce passenger congestion and reduce traffic congestion in major cities, including the capital. 20 state-of-the-art trains were purchased from China step by step worth Tk 650 crore. Although the longevity of each train is 35 years, it becomes obsolete after a few years. 

Transport and communications specialist Professor Hadiuzzaman said, “Officials who were involved in purchasing had failed to come up with a proper plan. Although these DEMU trains are for short distance use, they have already been damaged due to long distance operation.”

Without thinking far-reaching, these trains are bought which are unsuitable for the climate of Bangladesh. Chinese engineers were responsible for running demus in Bangladesh with their own software. Somehow they returned to the country after the expiration of their term. 

But at this time, the Chinese engineers did not give any training to anyone involved in the train. As a result, the DEMUs are falling apart and getting damaged.

Experts said there were irregularities in everything from the plan to the purchase. After bringing it back, it was not run properly.

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