No decision on fare hike, says railways minister

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Mar 19,2019 | Updated: 00:29, Mar 19,2019

 
 

Though a committee was formed to prepare a proposal for increasing train fares, railways minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan on Monday said that no decision was made about the much talked-about fare hike.
The railways ministry’s recently formed committee, tasked to prepare a proposal for fare increase, in a draft, in March, proposed a 25 per cent increase in fare on an average.
However, the minister’s comment during a contract signing ceremony at Rail Bhaban in the capital gave an impression that the authorities have backtracked on the issue of fare hike.
A press release issued by the ministry also testified to this since it quoted the minister who said that a committee has been formed to compare the fares of train with that of other means of transportation.
The last time the government increased train fair was in February 2016. The hike at that time was by a mere 7.23 per cent on an average, while in October 2012 the fare was increased by 50 per cent to 115 per cent and that exorbitant hike came with the promise of improved services.
Meanwhile, the contract signing ceremony that was held between Bangladesh Railway and South Korean manufacturing company Hyundai Rotem was for the purchase 20 meter gauge diesel-electric locomotives.
According to the railway authorities, out of its 178 MG locomotives, 139 were running behind economic life of 20 years.
Hyundai Rotem is scheduled to supply all locomotives between 22 and 28 months at a cost of Tk 674.09 crore, jointly funded by Economic Development Cooperation Fund, Korea and the Government of Bangladesh.
Under railway’s project to purchase 20 MG locomotives and 150 MG coaches, the project director Abdul Matin Chowdhury and Hyundai Rotem’s senior vice-president Hyung-Wook Kim signed the contract.
The minister also said that railway would earn more revenues when new locomotives would be added to the fleet.
The ceremony was attended, among others, by railways ministry secretary Md Mofazzel Hossain and Bangladesh Railway director general Md Kazi Rafiqul Alam.

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