BR likely to hike 7.8pc fare in February

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Dhaka, Jan14: The government has planned to increase the fare of Bangladesh Railway (BR) by 7.8 percent from February and a proposal sent to Prime Minister for approval, railway minister Md Mazibul Hoque said yesterday.

According to Bangladesh Railway, it has planned to extend its activities aiming to increase its earning across the country by setting up various commercial establishments on railway unused lands.

It planned to construct five-star hotel, motel, modern hospital, medical college, nursing institute and shopping complex on its land across the country at a cost of Tk 850 crore.

“We have forwarded a proposal to the prime minister regarding fare hiking and fares will be hiked from February if the PM approved,” Mazibul Hoque said while speaking at a programme at Bangladesh Railways Bhaban.

There are 62,000 acres of railway land across the country, the minister said, adding that they considered the railway as services sector and the government has given more importance to people’s transport management than financial earning.

The minister said, they have chalked out a plan to construct commercial establishments like five-star hotel, motel, modern hospital, medical college, nursing institute and shopping complex on railway’s unused lands.

“The proposal forwarded to the prime minister aiming to reduce the losses incurred by BR. From now on, fares will be adjusted every year, but it will be not more than 7.5 percent if oil prices remain steady,” railways secretary Md Feroz Salah Uddin told reporters.

New projects will be taken in phases and all the projects will be implemented through Public Private Partnership (PPP), he added.

The government had revised the railway fares in June 2012 after 20 years.

According to BR sources, a 20-storey building for a five-star hotel and shopping complex will be constructed on 4.14 acre railway land at Zakir Hossain road in Chittagong.

Besides, a shopping mall with hotel-cum-guesthouse will be constructed at Chittagong Station Road on a 0.4432 acre land spending Tk 92.7 crore.

The BR will also build a shopping mall with hotel-cum-guesthouse near Khulna Railway Station using its 1.78 acre land with the cost of TK 240 crore.

The plan also includes the construction of a shopping mall with hotel-cum-guesthouse on 2.1129 acres of land near Comilla Railway Station spending Tk 294.5 crore, sources said.

According to BR sources, it would modernise the hospitals of Rangpur, Syedpur, Pakshi and Khulna through extension of those as well as construction of medical colleges and nursing institutions.

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