The Financial Express

BR losing Tk 40-50m every day amid COVID-19 outbreak

Published: April 05, 2020 20:19:55 | Updated: April 05, 2020 22:37:22

BR losing Tk 40-50m every day amid COVID-19 outbreak

Bangladesh Railway (BR) is losing Tk 40-50 million in revenue every day following the suspension of all train services across the country amid the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 24, the government suspended all the passenger train services throughout the country in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Only freight train services remain operational.

BR has lost Tk 520-650 million in the last 13 days until April 5.

Director General of Bangladesh Railway Shamsuzzaman told UNB that they earned Tk 16 billion in revenue last year by carrying passengers and goods.

Asked about the exact figure of loss, he said the director general (operations) can provide the information.

However, Additional Director Genera (operations) Mia Jahan did not pick phone even after repeated attempts.

Talking to UNB, Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan all kinds of train services were halted from March 24 and those will remain suspended until further notice.

“Services will resume upon government’s directives,” he said.

He said all the trains used to carry around 275,000 passengers every day to fetch Tk 40-50 million in revenue. “As the train services remain halted, we’re losing revenue,” he said.

The minister said they meet all kinds of logistic support and pay staff salaries from selling tickets and carrying goods by freight trains.

He, however, said they are not looking for any profit during this time of pandemic.

Sujan said although train services are suspended, there is maintenance cost and salaries of officials and staff.

He said Bangladesh Railway has a total of 364 trains and 26,135 officials and employees.

Of the staff, 418 are first class officers, 752 second class officers, 13,622 third class employees and 11,343 fourth class employees, the minister said.

He said although train services remained halted, those assigned for maintenance of railway stations and trains are discharging their duties.

Besides, others have been directed to stay at the headquarters so that emergency rail services can resume if needed, Sujan said.

He also directives all railway staff to conduct awareness campaign at all railway stations and keep themselves safe from coronavirus.

Mofazzel Hossain, senior secretary of Railways Ministry, said although they are losing revenue following the suspension of train services, they are prioritising the national interest right now.


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