First special cattle train arrived at Kamalapur railway station
Bangladesh Railway (BR) decided to transport sacrificial animals across the country during Eid-ul-Azha in order to reduce losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, BR is barely getting any response from the cattle traders to transport their animals through cargo trains.
After taking the decision to start a special cattle train service on July 6, BR had its first trip on Wednesday.
According to the BR, the cattle special train departed from Jamalpur railway station at 8pm on Tuesday and it reached Kamalapur Railway station on Wednesday morning.
Another special cattle train is likely to depart from Chapainawabganj for Dhaka on Thursday.
BR had expected they would get quite a response from cattle traders to transport their cattle before Eid.
The railway authority was prepared to transport cattle from Chapainawabganj, Natore, Rajshahi, Pabna, Jamalpur, Mymensingh, Meherpur, Kushtia, Chuadanga, Gaibandha, and Faridpur.
However, cattle traders are used to travelling by road as a truck can take them to the cattle market directly. So, if they use a special cattle train, they might need to hire a truck to transport cattle from the railway station to the makeshift cattle markets.
Railway Minister Nurul Islam said: “We are prepared to transport cattle from different parts of the country, but we got very few responses, as traders are not used to [this process].
“There are also some challenges in transporting the cattle from the station to the cattle markets,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
On Wednesday, the cattle train carried 261 cattle in 17 goods carriages to Dhaka. Then, the cattle were put into trucks again to bring those to the makeshift cattle markets.
BR has taken the decision of transporting sacrificial animals across the country following a letter from the Department of Livestock Services as it would be helpful for the traders.
BR set a minimum charge of approximately Tk34,000 for each wagon to bring cattle to Dhaka and Chittagong from different parts of the country. Each wagon can hold 16 or more cattle. So the transportation of each animal would cost only Tk2,000 or less which is the lowest compared to other modes of transportation including trucks.
Previously, animals were transported in wagons between Dewanganj and Dhaka until 2008.