Khulna rail under threat of syndicate
Published: 10:39 PM, 12 November 2019 Updated: 01:03 PM, 13 November 2019
The outlook of Khulna Railway Station has changed since the touch of modernity. However, rail oil theft, ticket black market, drug arena is like an open secret. The station’s service quality is also questioned as the commuters have to suffer a lot due to various irregularities.
It is reported that railway oil has been being stolen from wagons carrying oil from Padma, Meghna and Jamuna Depots in Khulna to Parbatipur Depot for a long time. People who are assigned to transport oil from junction to junction are evolved with the theft. Managing all responsible authorities, the syndicate breaks the seal of oil carrier and re-seal like the depot after stealing on the way.
It is learned that the oil smuggling is mainly done in three points: -Khulna Railway Station, Junction, and Kashipur Oil Depot. In addition, they take away oil after stopping the train at Daulatpur and Bejedanga in Fultala too.
Bangladesh Railway Nirapotta Bahini (RNB) members-Badal Sardar, Shafiqul Islam Sohag and Sohail are involved in the theft, who are assisted by other RNB members Manik Hossain, Wasak Roni, Masud Khan and Shamim. In addition, Loco Inspector (LI) Mir Idris Ali is alleged to have assisted them in stealing the oil.
Asked about this, Loco Inspector (LI) Mir Idris Ali angrily replied, "My duty is to replace the accident fallen train, not the oil.” On the other hand, he acknowledged that he is accountable for the railway’s official oil reserves.
The RAB raided the Khulna Railway Station on the basis of information about oil theft while Sajal Howlader, son of Motaleb Howlader and Abdul Khalek's son Md. Malek was arrested.
However, no changes have come yet after the RAB operation. This oil smuggling is still running followed by a new strategy, where allegedly about 2000 litters oil are stolen per day.
The abandoned wagons worth billions of taka have been lying fallen at Khulna railway station for a long time. These abandoned wagons have become a safe cabin for drugs and gambling due to a lack of security initiatives. Khulna railway security branch is also embarrassed about this.
It is alleged that people from slum areas and mill factories around the railway station are involved in these crimes.
CI Sardar Rafiqul Islam, who is in charge of the security of railway wagons in Khulna, said, “The manpower crisis has been going on for a long time. The allocated manpower is very scarce in comparison to the area. But there is some people to look after theses wagons here. Railway security personnel remain unarmed. As a result, there is nothing to do after seeing bad people.”
Although the CC camera is supposed to be installed for security at the station, it is not yet settled. Recently an unexpected incident happened at Khulna Railway Police Station due to lack of security where OC and four policemen were alleged with the gang rape of a housewife. Though the OC was expelled after the case.
There have been allegations about black market ticket syndicates. An online ticketing service has been launched as part of the development. It was not too late to read the brunt of the irregularities. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has launched a raid on Khulna railway station's online ticket blockers in the name of VIPs. The ACC later recommended divisional action against Yakub Ali, the chief booking assistant associated with the black ticket market.
In the campaign of the ACC, Tk 22,912 was seized in a table drawer of station master Manik Chandra Sarkar, which was taken as bribe from the retired employees’ pensions.
The ACC also found evidence of involvement of chief booking assistant Mehdi Hasan in the ticket black market syndicate. Meanwhile, ACC took sign in bond from the Station Master for suspending him; however, he was promoted later.
Khulna Station Master Manik Chandra Sarkar said, “The matter regarding the suspension of ticket booking in-charge Mehdi Hasan was reported to the higher authorities earlier. But he was promoted later. In this case I have nothing to do. However, he denied the black ticket market.”
After the ACC operation, the Khulna District Administration again raided the Khulna railway station. A mobile court has sentenced imprisonment a youth named Touhidul Islam with a fine for allegedly selling tickets in advance.
Travelers complained that tickets are being kept blocked in the station like before. As a result, no ticket is available even after two days before the journey, but those tickets are being sold a little before the train’s departure at a high cost.