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Commuters, traders suffer as Hili rail station closed over a year

  • Published at 01:12 pm March 21st, 2019
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File photo of passengers facing challenges embarking on and disembarking from the train at Hili railway station, in Hakimpur upazila of Dinajpur Dhaka Tribune

Hili railway station is a ‘B’ class station constructed in the British era

The long-established Hili railway station, in Hakimpur upazila of Dinajpur, has been closed for more than a year, causing tremendous suffering to daily commuters and traders. 

Although the station is officially inactive, three trains—including inter-city ones—pass through and make a brief stopover using a secondary track, Line 2, at Hili station. Such limited activities of the station are controlled by nearby stations in Birampur upazila and Panchbibi upazila of Joypurhat. 

Since all the trains use Line 2, that is not adjacent to the platform, passengers face challenges embarking on and disembarking from the train. Boarding these trains is highly risky and often causes accidents. Passengers also face difficulties in purchasing tickets and getting seats on trains. Under the circumstances, local commuters and traders have urged the authorities concerned to open the Hili station as early as possible.      

According to station sources, Hili railway station is a ‘B’ class station constructed in the British era. Though such station usually requires three masters, five point-men, three booking assistants and two porters; it was being operated with only one station master and two point-men before being shut down.     

On January 8 last year, the station master and one point-man were transferred elsewhere, resulting suspension of all activities at the station. A total of 11 trains normally pass through the station everyday but only three of them make a brief stopover.

Hili Railway Ekata Club President Amzad Hossain said: “Apart from long-distance travelers, there are many students in Hili—who study in Rajshahi, Dhaka, and other parts of the country—and thus regularly commute using this rail link. However, they have been facing serious transportation issues after the station was closed.”

“We, the people of Hili, demand the reactivation of the rail station with the stoppage of all trains that pass through here,” he added. 

Locals and commuters seeking to catch train said: “Hili rail station, despite being an important one, has been subjected to negligence by the authority concerned. People in the region are suffering from uncertainties and also experiencing sudden accidents while boarding and disembarking from the trains. It would have been a great relief for many in the area if all trains could halt here for hassle-free transportation.”

The Hili Landport Import Exporters Group President Md Harun-Ur-Rashid said: “Hili is the second-largest land port in the country from which the government collects hundreds of crores of revenue every year. Moreover, a huge amount of daily commodities are being imported through this port from India. That is why Hili rail station also has a significant role to play in transporting the goods across the country. However, traders are in peril and hardship as the station had been closed.”

Hakimpur (Hili) Municipality Mayor Md Jamil Hossain Chalanta said: “We have already exchanged several letters with the rail ministry regarding this issue. With the local people, we have also arranged human chain, press conference, and other programs to resolve the matter. This station is very important for daily commuters, students, and business persons; and we are urging the authority concerned to re-open the station as soon as possible.” 

The rail authority closed the station on January 8, last year, citing a manpower shortage. Later, on January 17, the then-Rail Minister said the station would be re-opened after the Dinajpur 6 constituency lawmaker Shibli Sadek demanded it with a point-of-order appeal during parliamentary session. However, no steps have been taken in this regard.