Manpower shortage hits railway services, expansion plan
Publish- February 02, 2019, 08:07 AM
Masudul Hoque - UNB Staff Writer
Update- February 02, 2019, 08:11 AM
Dhaka, Feb 2 (UNB) – The long-drawn manpower crisis in Bangladesh Railway, the largest public transport sector, is not only hampering its services but also the government plan to split it into four zones as part of its move to bring the whole country under the railway network.
Bangladesh Railway is facing many difficulties in providing expected services to its passengers with its existing manpower of 40,275.
A number of railways stations across the country are facing closure due to manpower shortage, said officials at Bangladesh Railway, sources at Bangladesh Railway said.
They said even the government plan to split Bangladesh Railway into four zones to bring the whole country under railway network saw little progress for the same reason since the Prime Minister’s directive in this regard in 2014.
According to the Bangladesh Railway, there are 2,877 kilometers of railway network across the country and it will be expanded to 4,700 kilometers under a master plan of the government. “But, it’s impossible for the Bangladesh Railway to deal with the increased routes with the existing manpower,” said an official wishing anonymity.
On October 23,2014, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the Railways Ministry to reform the railway.
Following the PM’s directive, the Railways Ministry constituted a committee with its Additional Secretary Kamal Krinsha as its convener to split the railway into four zones.
The committee recommended forming the East Zone with Chittagong and Sylhet divisions while the West Zone with Pakshi and Lalmonirhat, North with Dhaka and Mymensingh divisions and the South Zone with Rajbari district and Khulna division. Each zone will be divided into two divisions under the plan.
But the move remained stuck for the last four years as no decision has been taken yet over the additional manpower to run the new zones and divisions.
Currently, Bangladesh Railway has been operating its services under two zones—East (Chattogram, Dhaka, Pakshi, Lalmonirhat) and West (Sylhet, Mymensing, Rajbari and Khulna) zones.
In December last year, the consultation firm concerned submitted a report to the Bangladesh Railway with the demand of 57,000 manpower for the proposed new zones against the actual demand of 68,000 people.
The final proposal over splitting Bangladesh Railway into four zones could not yet be sent to the Public Administration Ministry due to the faulty proposal over the manpower structure,
Besides, the operation of Chapainawabganj-Amnua bypass Railways Station has been suspended due to manpower crisis.
Contacted, Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujon said the process for splitting Bangladesh Railway into four zones is underway and effective measures will be taken soon to this end.
He also stresses the need for ending manpower crisis to ensure better services to the passengers.
“Many cases are pending with courts over recruitment in different posts of the Bangladesh Railway. Initiatives will be taken to dispose those of quickly,” he said.
The Railways Minister also said additional manpower will be recruited for providing better services to railway passengers.