Staff Correspondent: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government has turned state-run Bangladesh Railway into a profitable agency, which was left in tatters during the past BNP rule.
“As we made BRTC a profitable one, today we’ve proven that train service can be made profitable,” she said at the launching ceremony of two Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Mobile Rail Museums and 46 locomotives.
The prime minister said the past BNP government shut down train services on different routes at the suggestion of the World Bank.
She said her government has not only revived the rail transport service agency, but has made it profitable too.
She joined the function at Kamalapur Railways Station through a video conference from her official residence Ganobhaban.
Hasina commissioned 30 meter-gauge locomotives and 16 broad-gauge locomotives of Bangladesh Railways by flagging off these vehicles.
She also opened two Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Mobile Rail Museums, built on a Broad-gauge coach and a meter-gauge coach on the occasion of Mujib Year.
She stressed the need for expediting the process of recruiting more manpower for the Bangladesh Railway to expand its services.
“There is a manpower shortage in our railway. We’ll have to increase its manpower. A step has already been taken for this. I think it should be executed soon,” said the PM.
She said though Bangladesh Railway is a service organisation, it should also earn profit.
It would be possible after the expansion of railway network and opening of new routes being constructed by the government, she said.
The PM said once it was advised that BRTC be shut down as it was not a profitable venture.
“What matters most for a state-owned agency is how much services it renders to the people, not how much profit it makes,” she said.
Keeping this in mind the AL government took massive steps to expand the railway network in the country and bring new areas under the railway connectivity. Thus the railway service now continues for the people even during any calamity, she added.
Hasina blasted the BNP for damaging the Railway’s property through arson attacks in the name of movement.
“When we procured new coaches, locomotives and engines, BNP uleashed arson violence,” she said.
“The most unfortunate part is that new train coaches carrying passengers were set on fire….. What type of movement was it? These were rather terrorist activities,” she said, attacking opposition BNP.
Noting that BNP was founded by power grabbers, she said “They didn’t come from the people. So, they didn’t care for the welfare of the people.”
About the newly commissioned locomotives ahead of the Eid-ul Fitr, the PM said it would help the people travel smoothly to their homes to celebrate the festival with families.
Railway Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan presided over the function and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railway Ministry ABM Fazle Karim Chowdhury also spoke on the occasion.
PMO senior secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah and US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas were present at the function, while Railway secretary Dr Md Humayun Kabir delivered the welcome speech.
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