Special train for transporting agricultural products

Special train for transporting agricultural products

Salah Uddin Chowdhurydaily-bangladesh.com

Published: 18:56 5 March 2020   Updated: 22:07 5 March 2020

File Photo

File Photo

Bangladesh Railway has taken an initiative to open a special train for transporting agricultural products from different parts of the country, for this, the process of purchasing 125 freezing and nonfreezing special luggage vans has also been completed. 

The trains will link to Tejgaon Railway Station. Thus, it will reduce the transport cost as well as reduce the pressure on the road, according to concerned.   

Four major agro-productive zones have been taken into consideration for the launch of special trains for transporting agricultural commodities. Apart from this, there will also be a special buggy for transporting products on every passenger train.

According to railway sources, 35 percent of agricultural products in the capital comes from Jashore, 30 percent comes from the Mymensingh region, 30 percent comes from Savar and Munshignj regions. Besides, agricultural products are also coming in Dhaka from Rangamati, Khagrachari, and Bandarban. Therefore, special trains will be linked with the capital to transport agricultural products from Chattogram.

According to the plan, a train will come from Khulna to Jashore and from Chapainawabganj to Dhaka via Bangabandhu Bridge. However, once the Padma Bridge and its rail link is completed, a train will come directly via Mawa. Apart from this, two agro-trains will also come to Dhaka from Mohanganj of Netrokona and Dewanganj of Mymensingh.

While there are common vans for transporting vegetables on trains, there will be freezing vans for transporting milk, fish, meat, fruits. In the meantime, initiatives have been taken to purchase such 125 luggage vans, of them — 50 are broad gauge and 75 are meter gauge.

The luggage vans are being purchased under Railway’s ‘Rolling Stock Operations Improvement’ project. The project will be implemented with joint financing from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh. 

According to the concerned officials, different types of agricultural commodities are coming to the capital every day from different regions of the country. Due to the high cost of transporting raw materials on the road — this impacts on the retail level. Again the pressure on the road is also increasing. At the same time, many goods are wasted due to traffic while transporting goods on the road — which is affecting everyone from producer to consumer level. 

Considering these aspects, the railway has long been trying to start the use of rail in transporting agricultural products as the cost of transporting agri-products in the rail is less than the roadways. Besides, the goods will arrive in the capital in less time.  

It has been learned that the railway was once one of the main transport vehicles in Bangladesh after independence. At that time, jute, oilseeds, pulses, spices, sugar, sugarcane, salt and various types of agricultural products were transported. As time goes by, traders, however, became reluctant to transport goods on railways for various reasons.

There is no arrangement for transport vegetables or fish especially from the western part of the country. Indonesia and India-made train coaches operating on those routes do not transport raw material in fear of being derailed. Again, there is a technical barrier to add van luggage on the trains from Rajshahi to Dhaka.  

In view of these issues, the railway authorities adopted a plan to link the trains to Tejgaon with the addition of luggage vans for transporting agricultural produce. 

Assistant General Manager of Operations (Operations) Mia Jahan told Daily Bangladesh that the tender process for procurement of 125 wagons specialized for transporting agricultural commodities has been completed. “Now the work order is in process. After receiving the work order, the concerned organization will start working. It will take one and a half years.”

However, he could not give any detailed information on how many trains would be operated in the transportation of agro products.