Krishak League leaders in Chattogram have written to the Bangladesh Railway seeking 380 free train tickets. The letter has sought first class tickets for as many as 190 leaders to join the national council of the ruling party's front organisation in Dhaka.
The railway authorities, however, have turned down the request.
Gautam Kumar Kunda, deputy chief commercial manager of Bangladesh Railway (East Zone), told The Business Standard, "We can arrange the tickets on payment. But they demanded free tickets which will cost us more than Tk2.79 lakh."
"We will formally send a letter rejecting the application," he added.
The letter signed by Chattogram Krishak League (North District) President Nazrul Islam Chowdhury and General Secretary Safiqul Islam said their national council will be held on November 6 at the Suhrawardy Udyan.
In the letter, they said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be present there as chief guest.
"The premier will deliver important speech on overall welfare of farmers and milestone development of agriculture. After joining the council, we will return with important directives from the prime minister," said the letter.
It added the 190 leaders will go to the capital on November 5 and return to the port city on November 6.
When contacted, Krishak League Chattogram (North District) President Nazrul Islam Chowdhury admitted that he wrote to the railway for the free tickets.
He said the organisation gave the railway authorities the list of the councillors with their mobile numbers.
Who are on list?
In the list, there are prominent businessmen including Ershad Mahmud (younger brother of Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud); noted lawyers including Advocate Fayezul Islam, Advocate Umme Habiba Munni and Advocate Narayan Chandra Karmokar; doctors Omar Faruk and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury; and engineers Jakir Hossain, Rasel Harun Talukder and Masud Karim.
Contacted, Advocate Narayan Chandra Karmokar told The Business Standard, "I do not know it. Railway is not our property that they would give us free tickets."
"We decided to give Tk1,000 per head as trip fare while the affluent leaders will give Tk5,000 to Tk50,000 as donation," added Karmokar.
Like the lawyer, many on the list said they do not know anything about the application seeking free tickets. They claimed that they have paid the charges for the trip. The president, Nazrul Islam, also admitted that they fixed Tk1,000 each for trip fare.
Then why you sought the free tickets - in reply to the question, he said, "If we do not get free, then we will have to buy those."