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Dhaka Tribune

Jatri Kalyan Samity calls for reinstating Chittagong-Cox's Bazar train service

  • Warns of stronger movement
  • Significance of maintaining train service emphasized
Update : 30 May 2024, 04:08 PM

Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, a group that speaks for the rights of passengers, has called for the immediate reversal of the decision to stop the special train service on the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar route, warning of a stronger movement involving passengers if the demand is not met.

In a statement issued on Thursday morning, the organization's secretary general, Md Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, emphasized the significance of maintaining the train service.

“Following the construction of the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar railway for Tk10,000-12,000 crore by the government to bring railway services to the doorsteps of the people, [Bangladesh] Railway started two train services from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar to provide facilities only to the residents of the capital. However, the people of Chittagong and Cox's Bazar were discriminated against since the start of this train service causing anger among residents.”

“The Cox's Bazar special train service was introduced during the last Eid-ul-Fitr to address these concerns. This service quickly became popular, providing a safer and more affordable alternative to road travel, which is often marred by accidents and excessive fares. Consequently, the service was extended twice based on the local railway administration's field survey report,” he said.

Despite its popularity and the resulting fare reductions by bus operators, there are allegations that bus owners have influenced railway officials to discontinue the service due to their declining passenger numbers, said the organization’s leader.  

Mozammel contended that stopping the Cox's Bazar special train service is a move orchestrated to benefit bus operators.

He added: “The Chittagong-Cox's Bazar and Dhaka-Cox's Bazar routes have higher passenger occupancy and generate more revenue than other inter-city train services in the country. Discontinuing these services would hinder the recovery of the Tk12,000 crore investment, increasing the financial burden on the railway sector. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had announced the launch of two train services on these routes during the railway inauguration, making this decision a clear violation of her directives.”

The allocation of only one AC and one non-AC coach on the inter-city trains from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar has not met passenger demand, further fuelling public frustration. The suspension of the special train service ahead of Eid-ul-Azha has also cast doubt on the Eid special train services announced by the railways minister on May 28.

Mozammel urged the prime minister to intervene and change the decision to stop the Cox's Bazar special train service, ensuring that the people of Chittagong-Cox's Bazar can benefit from the government's significant contribution to the region's rail infrastructure.

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