Bangladesh Railway (BR) will operate special parcel trains to facilitate farmers to transport their farm products during the weeklong strict restrictions starting today.
As per the plan, railway will operate parcel trains on four routes -- Dhaka-Sylhet, Chattogram-Sarishabari, Khulna-Chilahati, and Dhaka-Panchagarh.
The state-run transport service will give 25 percent concession on hire and revoke all other charges for transporting vegetables, local fruits and other farm products.
Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan disclosed the plan and different perspectives of the service at a press conference at Rail Bhaban in Dhaka yesterday.
BR has suspended all passenger trains service from April 5 when the government imposed restriction on public transport to contain Covid-19 pandemic.
However, it continues freight trains service.
The minister said like last year, BR is going to introduce the special service to strengthen supply chain of the essential products and to give support to the growers.
Replying to another question, he said they introduced the service for the "lockdown" period and they will continue the service if it gets expected response.
The special trains would be operated on Dhaka-Sylhet (up and down) and Chattogram-Sarishabari (up and down) routes every day while the trains would run on two other routes every alternate day.
Charge for per kilometre of services would be between Tk 1.11 and Tk 1.56, the minister said.
FOOD GRAINS FROM INDIA BY FREIGHT TRAINS
Railways Secretary Salim Reza said apart from the freight train service in the country, freight trains are being operated to bring food grains from India.
The amount of food grains -- rice and wheat -- brought to Bangladesh from India by trains continued to increase since January this year, showed BR documents.
While 74716.58 tonnes of food grains were imported by 132 trains in January, 121270.46 tonnes were imported by 111 trains in February.
Total 141329.68 tonnes of food grains were imported in March using 140 trains while 48478.08 tonnes came to the country in the first 10 days of April by 55 trains, it said.
Replying to another question, the railways minister said they would not bar contractors from doing construction works of railways project if they can do those maintaining health safety guidelines properly.
BR Director General Dhirendra Nath Mazumder and additional director general (operations) Sardar Sahadat Ali, among others, were present at the press conference.