The West Zone of Bangladesh Railway has earned record revenue worth Taka 11.5 crore through transporting goods in June last despite the present novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"In a single month, this is our highest revenue earning since independence of the country," said Mihir Kanti Guha, General Manager of the zone, adding that the success has been attained through carrying mainly imported goods.
In June last, 103 cargo trains with various imported goods arrived in the country through the existing border stations like Rohanpur, Darshana, Benapol and Birol from India breaking the highest record of 93 in 2017.
In addition to stone, the trains each of those consists 42 wagons transported consumer goods like onion, garlic, maize and cement. Mihir Kanti said carrying of transported goods through railway has been enhanced to a greater extent at present due to reduction of export and import through roads caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Similar situation has also been going on since the beginning of this month and good revenue earning is expected in this month, he added.
The West Zone has also launched the venture of transporting mangoes to the capital Dhaka for the first time on the Chapainawabgonj-Dhaka railway route via Rajshahi early last month amid the Covid-19 pandemic situation. Since its initial day, the amount of mango transportation and revenue earning is gradually increasing as the service receivers are getting better, quality 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 of boosting revenue earning. The cargo train is carrying a maximum 225 tonnes of mangoes in six wagons every day. So, farmers and traders can transport goods at their will. It costs Tk 1.17 to carry a kilogram 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 Chapainawabgonj, Amnura Bypass, Kakanhat, Rajshahi, Sardaha Road, Arani and Abdulpur for transporting to the capital Dhaka daily.
The train makes a stoppage for loading mangoes at 14 stations on the Chapainawabgonj-Dhaka railway route via Rajshahi. 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 much 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 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. Anwar Haque, who has mango orchards on around 50 bigha of lands, terms the mango transportation through the cargo train as smooth, quickly, no trouble and wastage problem.
"I'm very much 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.