Bangladesh: Corruption Plagues Railway

ACC probe finds; identifies 10 sources of corruption in the sector

For years, Bangladesh Railway has remained riddled with graft which starts from leasing out railway land to procuring locomotives, according to a report of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The report blamed a section of the railway employees for the situation and identified 10 sources of corruption in the sector. It also gave recommendations in this regard.

The anti-graft watchdog prepared the report based on interviews of former and current railway officials and passengers, railway’s audit reports and information from the media.

ACC Commissioner Md Mozammel Haque Khan submitted the report to Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan at his office yesterday. The Daily Star has obtained a copy of it.

Irregularities and corruption come during the purchase of wagons, coaches, locomotives and diesel electric multiple units (DMUs); construction of double lines and single line duel gauge tracks; and relocation and upgradation of signal systems at different sections, reads the report.

ACC finds that many waterbodies and ponds of railways are leased out illegally. In want of proper monitoring and supervision, hundreds of acres of railway have been grabbed. Also, railway officials and employees have built residences illegally grabbing railway lands, it said.

According to the railway, about 2,839 acres of its land remains grabbed until April.

Graft also takes place in land acquisition, the report said, adding that government incurs huge financial losses because of massive corruption that comes during the auction of metre-gauges and broad-gauges.

Moreover, keeping railway’s workshop and sleeper factory ineffective, the government is pushed to face more financial losses, it said.

In the report, the ACC blamed some railway officials and employees for the sale of train tickets on the black market.

In its recommendations, the anti-graft watchdog suggested taking assistance from specialised institutions, including IBA, Buet and BMC, and using digital management system during recruitments for ensuring transparency and accountability.

The report asked for adopting a digital data entry system for proper management of railway’s land.

The ACC also recommended bringing all activities of Bangladesh Railway under automation to prevent corruption.

Talking to journalists, the ACC commissioner said his office was not only monitoring activities of the railway ministry, but was also trying to prevent graft elsewhere.

He said there was no alternative to prevention of graft for maintaining the pace of economic advancement in the country.

Later at a briefing, the railway minister said his ministry had adopted a zero-tolerance policy against all types of corruption.

He also said the recommendations in the report would be taken into consideration.

*Source: Daily Star

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