Bangladesh Railway has a total of 3,500 kilometre stretch of railway tracks under two zones (East and West) in the country.
There are 507 railway stations across the country. Of them, 387 stations are currently operational while the remaining 120 have remained closed for long.
Rail transport is considered to be the most popular in Bangladesh due to its low-cost service. Besides, people prefer to travel by train as it is a safe mode of transport.
Since a large number of railway stations have remained closed, people are being deprived of railway service at lower cost.
We think if the closed stations reopen, country’s economy will become more vibrant and the people, particularly those living in rural areas will significantly benefit economically. Bangladesh Railway cannot open the closed stations due to what they say ‘shortage of manpower’. The rail transport started journey in the country on November 15, 1862 during the British rule. Most of the railway stations were built during that period.
These closed rail stations have now turned into safe haven for muggers, vagabonds and drug addicts. Besides, the buildings and other infrastructures constructed for the stations have become vulnerable as they developed cracks.
Most of the buildings lying abandoned may collapse anytime due to lack of maintenance. The premises of many buildings lie covered with various plants and grass.
120 railway stations
have remained closed
On the other hand, grabbing of land adjacent to the abandoned stations is also going unabated by local political influential people and hoodlums even after repeated eviction drives. Besides, railway land in different areas of the country is currently under occupation of semi-government, autonomous, religious and educational institutions.
It should be mentioned that BNP-Jamaat government had tried to stop rail communication to facilitate transportation business by their men.
As part of their evil design, they also had closed many railway stations and gave ‘golden handshake’ to over 10,000 skilled railway workers.
We hope the current Awami League government will reopen all closed stations as early as possible and oust the land grabbers from the abandoned stations.
Besides, the ministry concerned should undertake a separate project to improve maintenance of the railway property.
Simultaneously, the ministry must recruit station masters, staffs and guards to resume operation of the closed stations. We believe Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League government will further improve the country’s rail service to ensure transportation of goods and people at lower cost. It is worth mentioning that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge being constructed over the Jamuna river will play a big role in advancing the country’s socio-economic condition alongside development of regional and international connectivity. We believe when our country will be connected with the Trans Asian communications network, Bangladesh will see further boost in its overall socio-economic development.
The railway authorities will have to refurbish the closed railway stations in both the East and West zones to improve rail service and make train journey more comfortable. The modernisation of platforms with adequate waiting rooms and installing access control fences will reduce the sufferings of passengers. We hope the authorities will take immediate steps to resume operation of the closed railway stations.