Bangladesh Railway has suffered a loss of Tk 35 crore in its property and infrastructural damage due to acts of sabotage and arsons during political shutdowns and blockades over the last 10 months.
“According to our preliminary estimate, recurring attacks on railway stations and bogies and removal of fishplates have caused a loss of Tk 35 crore in the last 10 months,” a senior official of the Railways Ministry told on Tuesday.
The official, who preferred not to be named, said the amount of the losses may go up further after the final assessment.
According to data provided by him, the railway sector has seen a total of 57 acts of sabotage, including arson attacks, removal of rail lines, and unscrewing of fishplates, during the countrywide transport blockade enforced by the BNP-led 18-party alliance in December this year (up to Dec 8).
Of the total incidents, 29 took place in the East Zone of Bangladesh Railway while 28 in the West Zone.
In the latest attack, a group of suspected blockaders on Monday vandalized the Sylhet Railway Station damaging its windows and furniture, and exploded crude and petrol bombs, leaving two people injured.
Suspected blockade supporters also set fire to railway tracks in Dhaka city’s Tejgaon area on Monday morning during the third day of the 18-party’s 72-hour nationwide transport blockade program.
Official statistic shows that a total of 169 acts of sabotage, including arson attacks, took place in the railway sector from February 28, 2013 to November 5, 2013.
On March 2 this year, miscreants set fire to a number of bogies of an express train, ‘Silk City’, at Rajshahi Railway Station under the West Zone of Bangladesh Railway and removed rail tracks from Sonaimuri-Natherpetoa section under the East Zone, causing a loss of over Tk 7.1 crore in damages.
On April 2, about 30 passengers were injured as six compartments of a Chittagong-bound train, ‘Turnanishita’, from Dhaka derailed in Comilla after unidentified people removed fishplates from the railway tracks. “This act of sabotage alone caused a loss of Tk six crore alone,” the official said.
Bangladesh Railway frequently has to delay or cancel train schedules due to removal of rail lines and unscrewing of fishplates and other violent protests during the countrywide transport blockade. “The losses will go up further if the money of the tickets returned by passengers is taken into account,” the official added.
Rly suffers Tk 35cr loss for attacks in 10 months