The West Zone of Bangladesh Railway has earned revenue worth around Taka 332.52 crore during the just concluded 2015-16 fiscal year, up by Taka 26.86 crore over the previous 2014-15 fiscal,BSS reports. Of the total earning, Taka 184.18 crore was obtained by carrying passengers while Taka 84.65 crore from goods transportation.
Highlighting the salient features of the revenue collection Shah Newaj, Additional chief commercial manager of the zone, told BSS that the earning is gradually increasing despite the multifarious problems experienced by the railway sector.
The zone, covering Rajshahi, Rangpur and Khulna divisions, has been operating 135 trains including 44 intercity ones on different routes, including the capital at present. Forty Four local and commuters or shuttle trains are being operated on various short-distance routes which are very popular among the passengers.
He stated that the number of passengers on various routes, where the intercity trains ply, especially those connecting the capital Dhaka has increased significantly in the last couple of years.
In most cases, he said, the railway staffs are facing great trouble to manage the increased number of passengers overcrowding the trains. For the betterment of the passengers in general, he said 27 major stations have been brought under the modern computerized seat reservation and ticketing system. Some of those including Rajshahi have launched ticket selling, seat reservation and other requisite privileges through online system.
He, however, said the revenue earning could be enhanced to a great extent if the huge numbers of non-functional stations are re-launched as early as possible. Belal Uddin, chief operating superintendent of the zone, said 82 out of total 226 stations remained inoperative for long due to various problems including shortage of stationmaster, points man, shunting man, booking clerk and other necessary staffs.
Earlier, six other mail trains and 25 local trains were being operated on different routes of the zone but now, the train service on those routes is curtailed due to various problems including shortage of lineman, engine, rake and loco master.
He emphasized the need for taking effective steps to restart the trains and stations as early as possible for the sake of reflecting the hopes and aspirations of the general public as many people still choose railway as a mode of transport.
Engineer Khairul Alam, General Manager of the zone, told BSS that many of the non-functioning stations are expected to be functional when the process of manpower recruitment is completed.
We are committed to provide safe, reliable, cost-effective and time efficient rail transport services everywhere in the zone through modernizing, expanding and maintaining rail system in a manner which supports government strategies for economic, social and environmental development.
Modernizing signaling, interlocking and telecom systems and up gradation of locomotives, coaches and other rolling stocks are being maintained. 240 coaches were rehabilitated, 16 new more engines were added to the zone and 200 new more carriages are expected to be added within near future, he added.
Engineer Alam said railway tracks and station infrastructures throughout the zone are gradually being developed and maintained. Necessary measures were taken to procure modern technology related rolling stocks, track materials and signaling systems suitable for Bangladesh Railway.
Some 120 luxurious bogies from India and 50 others from Indonesia were procured to make the rail modern and popular. With commissioning of these bogies, service standard has been enhanced and many of the transportation problems were solved.
Rehabilitation works of 790-kilometer railway tracks were completed at a cost of around Taka 2,930 crore. Besides renovation of 68 station buildings were completed by spending around Taka 50 crore. Construction of 211 kilometer track on different routes of the zone is progressing fast which involves a cost of around Taka 99,500 crore.
On successful implementation of the projects by the next two to three years, Engineer Alam said, adding significant developments are expected in the railway sector including its revenue earning.