Radio talk show on importance of railway as environment-friendly transport
Radio talk show on Environment and railway on-aired 30 April 2016 at the government owned radio channel Bangladesh Betar. This talk shows are fortnightly program titled Bigyan o Poribesh (Science and Environment), hosted (moderator and script writer) by Aminul Islam Sujon.
Being as moderator, I’ve started with introduction and provided basic importance of railway. Rail is a environment friendly transport. Not only environment friendly, it is cost effective, safe and comfortable. Travelling by rail is easy for any sick person as well. Travel from one destination to another, rail has no traffic jam and risk of accident is very less. These are the reason that rail is most popular transport. There are several initiatives has been taken to improve rail way, but still many other problems are exist. To consider above, this talk shows titled ‘importance of rail way as environment friendly transport and what needs to be done to develop rail system’.
First, I invited first to eminent environmentalist Mr. Abu Naser Khan, chairman of Poribesh Bachao Andolon (POBA- Save the Environment Movement). “Being a civil society leader, you and many others are working for many years to improve railway. What is the current scenario of Bangladesh railway and what are the major problem indentified by you and your organizations that needs to be solved?”
Mr. Abu Naser Khan said that, transportation is one of major sources of pollution environment in Bangladesh. Not only Bangladesh, worldwide, 50% carbon emission is linked with transportation and its related industries. Transport itself major sources for carbon dioxide which polluted air. These transports need to build in industries and these industries need steels again, and steels and raw materials come from other sources which also pollute air. So if we consider all those cycle of transportation, it is even more than 50% causes of air pollution.
Among transport, rail is most environment friendly, safe and key of economic boost of nation. This government has established separate rail ministry in their first term of consecutive tenure. It is consider as primary initiative for development of railway. There was several plans is approved for real development of rail, unfortunately these plans are not effectively implementing due international conspiracy with native collaborators.
If we want proper improvement of rail, we should utilize all lands of railway first. At the same time, rail line should be modernized. How to utilize effectively Railway (passenger wagon and engine) we need to think of it. More importantly, as government took initiative to develop railway workshop, but this initiative is moving very slow. While if we effectively improve rail workshop, these workshops can provide us more engine and wagon. So, we can start many new trains as well. Its very important to have an integrated plan to utilize all assets (including existing resources and future demands) of railway, what are the needs for future improvements and to develop digitalize railway system shortly. We are demanding it to the government that this plan should implement properly. So we can improve railway with existing resource as well.
On the other hand, its very urgent to recruit human resources. Through improving signaling system, we can improve railway with existing lines/routes. If we look to the 2040, as we are aiming to be a develop nation from developing nation now. We also knew that population increase from 160/170 million to 250 million, about 120 million people daily travel due to various purposes. And to be developed nation, we need export oriented growth, which mean that goods transportation will also increase 15 to 20 times within the country and export to outside. Dependency on road transport would be destructive. That is why we need coordinated and holistic plan for improving railway transportation. Government is now establishing 100 economic zones in various parts of country, so these economic zones should be connected with rail network to carry goods and raw materials to and from these zones. At the same time, after 20 years how many passenger and goods will be carry by rail, that needs to be sort-out and plan should be based on findings. So it is necessary to strengthened planning division of railway to utilize railway lands and other resources. Then people can get environment friendly railway. We also expect better coordination rail with river and road transport.
Being moderator, I have thanks to Mr. Abu Naser Khan for his wonderful remarks regarding environment friendly transportation and welcome to Atiqur Rahman, project officer of the Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust who is working on rail development for quiet-long in various ways including research and advocacy. The question I asked to Mr. Atiq is that how we can establish a developed railway as transportation for people?
Atiq Rahman said, though we know that the current government has taken some initiatives, and these initiatives are very important to improve railway system. For example, railway already passed long-term master plan from 2010 to 2030 which is now implementing. If we successfully implement this master plan, then railway can expand throughout the country. This master-plan has included to develop double lane where is single lane now, modernization of railway workshops, and locomotive and coach should be increase etc. If we work according to the master plan, then rail will expand lot and will improve as well.
At the same time, we knew that railway has many resources and this should be under well-management. Then it will help to increase income of railway as well. We knew that good transportation by rail is cost effective, but major portion of income comes from goods transportation. That should be more emphasized. As a whole to coordinate and provide necessary guidance to all activities of rail development, including implementation of master plan, increase goods transportation and resources management, I think a separate research cell should be established within the Bangladesh Railway. This proposed research cell will look after ensure proper implementation all the initiatives and will play important role as a whole for rail development.
Again, as moderator I’ve concluded this talk show. As rail is people friendly, environment friendly, cost effective, safe, comfortable transport, so that we should more focus on rail development and rail should be first priority as transport system for development. All transportation system should coordinate with rail.
As Mr. Abu Naser Khan said that rail faced many difficulties in past for various reasons, we would expect that these difficulties will not continue in future. While as Atiq Rahman said that rail has many resources, rail is known as owner of most resources in Bangladesh including land. But many of its resources illegally grabbed. If rail get back their resources, then railway will be profitable institution. We hope that government will consider on these issues. Improved railway can be established more modern, safe and comfortable transport system. Only willingness of everyone, including concerned persons are enough for betterment of environment-friendly transport, railway.
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