The theme “connectivity is productivity” is well known to all and recognised by all communities of the modern world. So, communication infrastructure development is the most popular and thrust sector in almost every country of the world. Bangladesh is not out of it. Present government has given emphasis on communication infrastructure development, especially railway development. We know that rail communication is the easiest, most comfortable, affordable and hassle free among all other communication sectors in the country. The sector is prioritised and is expanding day by day with increasing population and vehicle movement.
There are many pragmatic and visionary plans taken by the present government to modernise, expand and make this sector profitable. For example, government is importing locomotives, rolling-stocks, rails, railway coaches, passenger coaches, freight wagons, communication and signaling devices to replace old ones, also ready to introduce modern and updated new train like electric train or bullet train and railway connection with every district of Bangladesh is under consideration.For a long time, Bangladesh Railway is incurring losses every year according to its yearly financial statements. Recently our Railway Minister Muzibul Hoque disclosed in a question-answer session in the parliament that the losses of railway in one year is about 1853 crores of taka (news source: the Bangla daily Samakal). But why is it so? Whereas, there is a great potential to earn more to add millions of taka to our public exchequer and also great opportunity to earn more revenue from its operations, it has largely been neglected.
Bangladesh Railway’s history is hundreds of years old. This sector is working in our country from the British period. We have not yet recovered losses in this sector and are not yet able to make it profitable. Our neighboring country India is a shining example of railway communication and its development. China and Japan may be the other examples of railway development and communication. They earn thousands of dollars from railway businesses and railway operations in their country. They research more and more about the railway sector and its management and also invent and invest latest technology to adopt, adapt and make more skilled human resources for adjusting with the changing situation suited to the modern needs. They adopt strong principles and disciplines in this sector to maximise both government’s revenues and public satisfaction and utilities. Now they are the models of other countries to follow.
From the various information and news we get from different media and real sources, we find that Bangladesh Railway management is still functioning in the then British style and forms. It has hardly changed its rules and regulations to suit modern needs and style even after 47 years of our independence. Health and sanitation, toilet in the waiting rooms and environment of every station is deplorable. Railway staff quarters are not neat and clean or in good hygiene. Various corruptions, irregularities and mismanagement from ticketing to passengers passing everywhere still exist more or less.
The organogram, management structures and recruitment policies are also in British style or forms. What we need is a modern and updated railway management in the country so that this sector can overcome all complexities and losses from this sector, maximising people’s rail journey comfortable, easy, hassle-free and enjoyable and also maximising the government’s revenues to make it profitable. For this reason, more educated, skilled, all-rounder manpower should be recruited in this sector. It may be under the supervision of Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC). If necessary, the newly recruited persons could be trained in our land and also in foreign countries. Good recruitment and training policies for the railway staffs from helper, sweeper and signalmen to officer level should be formulated very soon if we want to see this sector profitable, enjoyable and reliable to be suitable for a civilised, developing or developed country.
Md. Muzibur Rahman, Additional Land Acquisition Officer, DC (Deputy Commissioner) Office, Dhaka