Sunday, October 25, 2020 | ePaper

It's shocking 107 rail stations are closed for long because of manpower shortage

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It is quite a shock to learn that while huge investments are being made in various mega infrastructure projects, when it comes to a sector as important as the country's railway, there have actually been major cutbacks in spending over the years leading to severe manpower crisis.
According to a report in a national daily on Sunday, as many as 107 rail stations across the country are now closed due to lack of stationmasters, loco masters, booking clerks, attendants and security guards. Currently, more than 15,000 posts are laying vacant in the Bangladesh railway. Many of the rail stations are now operating with retired employees on contracts. Currently, 60 stationmasters are working on contract basis while the process for contractual agreement with 50 others is at the final stage.
As reported, 400-hundred kilometer of rail line and 95 rail stations have been constructed in the last eleven years. Besides, 133 new trains have also been put on service. But the railways could not increase its required manpower during the period. However, the railway has sent a new list of about 47,000 people to the Ministry of Public Administration for recruitment.
Meanwhile, the railway sources admitted that the existing facilities at trains are now outdated and require revision. If the new recruitments could not be made immediately then many more stations may be closed down in the coming days. On the contrary, Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan has said all the problems relating to recruitment will be resolved very soon.
It is to be noted that railway transport is one of the two main land-based transports in Bangladesh. Railway is inherently more environmentally efficient than road transport -- railway produces less green house gas; require less fuel and less land per unit of operation. Even with the greater efficiency, railway operations employ more people than roads, adding to the economic impact of transport activities and providing sustenance for more families.
Undeniably, Bangladesh Railway has rendered a losing concern and a poor performer in order to make huge investment in roads and highways. We believe that a well-devised railway network can serve the nation better for long years with onetime investment. Cheaper and comfortable train journey and wagon shipment of goods can boost the country's economy several notches up. 

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