The West Zone of Bangladesh Railway has earned record revenue worth Taka 11.5 crore through transporting goods in June, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"In a single month, this is our highest revenue earned since independence of the country," General Manager of the zone Mihir Kanti Guha said, adding that the success has been attained through carrying mainly imported goods.
In June last, 103 cargo trains with various imported goods from India arrived in the country through the existing border stations like Rohanpur, Darshana, Benapol and Birol -- breaking the highest record of 93 in 2017.
In addition to stone, the trains transported consumer goods like onion, garlic, maize and cement.
Mihir Kanti said carrying goods through railway has been enhanced to a greater extent at present due to reduction of export and import through roads during the pandemic.
Similar situation has also been going on since the beginning of this month and good revenue is expected this month too, he added.
The West Zone has also launched the venture of transporting mangoes to the capital Dhaka for the first time on the Chapainawabganj-Dhaka route via Rajshahi early last month amid the pandemic. Since its initial days, the amount of mango transportation and revenue are gradually increasing as the service receivers are getting better and smooth services despite the adverse impact of the pandemic.
The 'Mango Special Train' has started gaining popularity with massive response from the mango growers and traders which is a good sign. The cargo train is carrying a maximum 225 tonnes of mangoes in six wagons every day. It costs Tk 1.17 to carry a kg of mango to Dhaka from Rajshahi. And it is Tk 1.30 from Chapainawabganj to Dhaka. Mainly, the mangoes are being loaded in the stations of Chapainawabganj, Amnura Bypass, Kakanhat, Rajshahi, Sardaha Road, Arani and Abdulpur for transporting to the capital daily.
Mihir Kanti said parcel fare has been reduced 25 percent since May 18 so that farmers and traders can transport mangoes easily. Not only mangoes, the traders and growers can transport vegetables and other seasonal fruits as well, he added.
"We are very happy and satisfied after availing the scope of transporting mango to Dhaka through special parcel train for the first time in the region," said Anwarul Haque, president of Rajshahi Agro Food Producer Society, adding that over 100 growers and traders are availing the opportunity at present.
He has already transported 25 tonnes of mango to Dhaka since the service began.
"I'm very optimistic about raising the number of service-recipients of the cargo train in the years to come," he added.
Mihir Kanti said the zone, covering Rajshahi, Rangpur and Khulna divisions, operates 159 trains, including 50 intercity and some inter-country ones, on different routes, including the capital city of Dhaka and Kolkata of India in normal time.
Forty-six locals or shuttle and sixty-three commuter or mail trains are also operated on various routes which are very popular among the passengers, he added.