DEMU train service fails to satisfy passengersShahin Akhter
The much-hyped Chinese Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit railcar commuter service has failed to meet passengers’ demand.
Its lack of toilet facilities, inadequate space and poor ventilation made the DEMU service an ‘uncomfortable’ one, many passengers have told New Age.
Since April 24 this year, the service has been introduced on 12 routes to fulfil one of the Awami League’s electoral pledges -- to ease traffic congestion in and around Dhaka city.
Passengers from Dhaka, Chittagong, Rangpur, Comilla and Mymensingh claim that these trains were extremely hot and suffocating as the windows are small.
At the Kamalapur railway station, passengers on Thursday said that it was difficult to get into the train.
‘The footboards of these DEMU trains are very high and children and the elderly people face difficulties in riding the train,’ said Mohammad Hanif, a Joydevpur-bound passenger.
These trains may be perfect for a country like China but not for Bangladesh, said Dhaka University student Mahbuba.
Other passengers on the train said that the train became dirty very soon after the service was launched.
Our correspondent from Chittagong reports that though the train travels long distances – the distance between Chittagong and Laksham is 128 kilometre, for example – they have no toilet.
Our Comilla correspondent also said that passengers claimed that the train used to stop at too many stations which slowed down the journey.
‘If we ride on other trains, the fare to reach Laksham from Comilla is Tk 45 which is Tk 10 higher than the fare of DEMU train,’ said Jamil a Comilla-bound passenger.
‘But DEMU train takes two more hours to pass the same distance,’
Lack of space inside the trains was also a common refrain.
‘There is no point to operate these beautiful but useless trains,’ commented Ashique, a service holder from Dhaka.
On April 25, a day after the service started, the DEMU railcar service had to be suspended for five-days between Dhaka and Narayanganj, as 20 passengers fell sick at Chashara railway station owing to suffocation.
Two days after this incident, the railway minister, Mohammad Mazibul Hoque, told New Age that the Chinese experts were working to keep the railcar’s windows fully open, which usually remain half open.
The DEMU railcar, with two engines at both ends, provides comfortable space for 300 passengers — 149 seating and 151 standing – and costs Tk 20 crore. They have 460 horsepower engine with a life span of 30 years
Railways minister claimed that there was no problem in DEMU trains’ services.
There was no need of toilets as these trains were running short distances, he said.
The minister also said that they had provided electric fans in DEMU trains while the windows were also big enough.
China’s Tangshan Railway Vehicle Company Limited won the bid for supplying the trains.
The routes the DEMU trains run on include Comilla-Akhaura-Comilla; Parbatipur-Thakurgaon-Parbatipur; Paratipur-Rangpur-Lalmonirhat; Chandpur-Laksham-Comilla, Noakhali-Laksham-Comilla, and Sylhet-Akhaura-Sylhet.
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