Wednesday, June 26, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Railways minister’s vision for robust infrastructure, increased workforce

  • ‘Training over 5,000 personnel to enhance efficiency’
  • ‘Importing additional engines to alleviate shortages’
Update : 24 Jan 2024, 10:11 PM

Railways Minister Md Zillul Hakim on Wednesday emphasized the need for proactive measures to address the engine crisis and manpower shortage in the railway sector.

The railways minister said these to journalists at the CRB officers' guest house in Chittagong on Wednesday.

He said: "Approximately 550 assistant station master and assistant locomotive master positions have already been filled. Additional recruitment circulars will be issued to augment the workforce. We are committed to recruiting and training individuals to strengthen our railway operations."

Already, over 5,000 people have been employed to renovate the railway, and they are being trained to enhance their skills. Several new engines and coaches have been imported, and more are on the way. When these engines are added to the railway, it will help overcome the engine-related issues on the tracks,” said the minister.

Reflecting on the railway's history, he said: "The railway once faced closures and challenges, such as the line stoppage in Faridpur and attempts to dismantle the Bhatiapara railway line. Despite previous setbacks, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's leadership has revitalized the railways, aiming to connect every district and provide affordable transportation."

Addressing inquiries about ongoing projects, Hakim said: "I have recently assumed the role of railways minister and am still learning. I defer comments on specific projects to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's vision. Together, with your assistance, we will address challenges and fulfil the prime minister's aspirations for the railways."

Regarding outsourcing, Hakim warned against it as a permanent solution, saying: "Outsourcing was attempted due to the ageing workforce, but it is not a sustainable solution. We are actively recruiting and training over 5,000 personnel to enhance efficiency. Importing additional engines and coaches will alleviate shortages, with 15 coaches already received and more on the way."

Responding to inquiries about the Chittagong to Cox's Bazar railway line, Hakim expressed optimism about starting the commuter train within two months but cited engine shortages as a hindrance to initiating intercity trains. 

He also acknowledged challenges, saying: "I am a learner, and I am prepared to tackle the obstacles."

The minister said that traffic on the old Kalurghat Rail Bridge in Chittagong will start in mid-March. The bridge is being repaired for this purpose.

“It will take four to five years to construct the new Kalurghat Bridge,” he said.

“The financing is being negotiated with Korea's Economic Development Cooperation Fund. We hope the Kalurghat Bridge will be constructed in 4-5 years,” he added.

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