Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday (July 20, 2023) said the government has no intention to obstruct the political programmes of BNP-Jamaat, but won’t spare them if they repeat any destructive activity.
“We will not obstruct them in doing politics and are not doing so as well. But they won’t get spared if they set fire to rails again or make any damage to the people,” she said, referring to the violence unleashed by the BNP-Jamaat during the 2013-2015 period.
The premier made the warning while opening train movement on the newly constructed 72-km dual-gauge double rail line, which was built under the Akhaura-Laksam Double Track Project.
She joined the inaugural function at Laksam in Cumilla through a virtual platform from her official residence Ganabhaban.
With the newly constructed 72-km dual-gauge double track, the entire 321-km Dhaka-Chattogram corridor has turned into a double lined one increasing its operational capacity, which will save travelling time by 30 minutes to one hour on this route.
Hasina said there will be cameras everywhere and the culprits will be identified and punished properly in case of any destructive activity.
Terming BNP and Jamaat the terrorist parties, Hasina said they know how to destroy but they don’t know how to create anything or serve the people.
“They know how to plunder, commit corruption and make self-gains,” she said.
The prime minister asked the people of the country to remain alert so that they can stay protected from the hands of terrorist BNP-Jamaat.
“We want the country to be protected from their hands,” she said.
The PM said that BNP-Jamaat set fire to railways in 29 places during their arson violence unleashed to thwart the 2014 general election.
She said many train operations were suspended during the BNP-Jamaat regime, but the AL government took massive steps to improve the sector considering that train journeys are comfortable and cheap for the common people.
PM Hasina said her government formed a separate ministry for railways in order to increase allocation to the sector.
“In the last 14 and a half years, we constructed 740 km new rail lines, converted 280 km meter-gauge rail tracks into dual-gauge ones, and reinstalled or reconstructed 1,308 km rail lines reinstalled,” she said.
Besides, the AL government constructed 126 new station buildings, reconstructed 223 stations buildings, constructed 732 new railway bridges, reinstalled or reconstructed 774 railway bridges in the time, she added.
The PM said her government collected 111 locomotives, 588 passenger carriages and 516 wagons (for carrying goods) since 2009. “We’ve commissioned 143 new trains on different routes,” she said.
She said the government is implementing several mega projects in order to enhance the regional and local railway communication and networks.
“We’ve taken initiative to collect 46 new broad-gauge locomotives, 460 new broad-gauge passenger carriages, 150 new meter-gauge passenger carriages, 125 new modern luggage vans, 1,310 new wagons,” said the premier.
Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan chaired the event from Laksam end, while LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Tazul Islam (local MP from Laksam-Monohorgonj) and Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq (local MP from Akhaura-Kashba) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) country director for Bangladesh Edimon Ginting spoke on the occasion.
PMO Secretary Mohammad Salahuddin conducted the function and Railways Secretary Humayun Kabir delivered the welcome speech.