Saturday 24, September 2022

Steps taken to stop corruption to submit by july 31: HC

News Desk: The High Court on Thursday observed that corruption was eating away at the Bangladesh Railway, and asked the rail authority to submit an explanation to it by July 31 about the steps taken to stop corruption, mismanagement and the syndicate of e-ticket business.

A bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat came up with the order, and also banned journey on the train rooftop from Wednesday.

The court wanted to know from railway’s joint director general (operation) M Saleh Uddin, its director traffic (commercial) Nahid Hasan Khan and online ticket sale partner Shohoz’s vice-president Jubaer Hossain whether carrying passengers on train rooftop was a moneymaking method.

The railway’s officers and the Shohoz officer were called to the court by deputy attorney general AKM Amin Uddin to respond to the court queries over Dhaka University student Mohiuddin Roni’s solo protest, which shocked the entire nation.

The court on Wednesday asked the Anti-Corruption Commission to inform the court of what action was taken against the rail ticket syndicate, mismanagement and corruption in the Bangladesh Railway that the DU student alleged in a recent protest at Kamalapur Railway Station with a placard on his chest.

On Wednesday, the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection fined the railway’s e-ticketing partner Tk 2,00,000 for its alleged negligence in ticket sales.

Shohoz will have to pay the fine within five working days, and Rony will get Tk 50,000 of it, according to the directorate.

Allegation had it Mohuddin was denied four tickets, citing technical glitch, for which he made online payment.

But he later found that his blocked tickets were sold by the Kamalapur counter to standing ticket seekers, and the tickets were overpriced.

Mohiuddin, also a fourth-year student of the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Dhaka University, had been protesting at the Kamalapur Railway Station since July 7, demanding an end to mismanagement and corruption at the Bangladesh Railway.

His demands include an investigation into the allegations of harassment by the IT company, prevention of ticket sale in the black market, equal opportunity for all ticket purchasers, increase in the number of trains, monitoring of performance of train ticket inspectors and supervisors, improvement in service quality and a fair price for food served in the trains and free supply of clean water and sanitary items.

Mohiuddin started his solo protest on July 7 after the rail authority remained silent for three weeks after he filed complaint with the Bangladesh Railway on June 14.

According to Mohiuddin’s account, he made payment on June 13 to purchase through four tickets of Silk City Express for travelling to Rajshahi from Dhaka.

Although the amount was deducted from his bKash account, neither did he get a notification receipt nor the e-tickets afterwards.

Railway’s joint director general (operation) M Saleh Uddin, however, told the High Court on Thursday that Mohiuddin failed to get the online tickets as he made payment for the tickets one hour after he purchased them.

The payment should have been made within 15 minutes, Saleh added.

He said that Shohoz gave the money back to Mohiuddin after three days.

Saleh said that a committee was formed on July 20 to look into Mohiuddin’s six-point demand and the general managers for the Bangladesh Railway East Zone and West Zone were asked to submit the report within seven days.

The court asked the railway’s director general to submit the report to the court.

As the court also wanted to know from Saleh why the rail authority was allowing passengers to ride on the rooftop of train compartments, he replied that they had taken many steps but could not stop such a long-standing practice.

The court said that how much time the rail authority would take to stop corruption; the country had passed 50 years of its independence but corruption in the railway could not be stopped.

The court reminded the rail officials that nothing was impossible if they could perform their duties well enough.

The Shohoz official told the court that there were 28,000 online tickets but there were 14 lakh clicks for them to collect.

‘What can we do?’ he said.


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