CUMILLA, Sept 25: A total of 13 railway stations across the district have been closed down in the last 12 years.
Now the closed stations are being used for different purposes.
Some stations are used by locals for drying paddy during the harvest season. Many stations are also used for keeping cows and goats. Influential groups have also taken possession of railway property in many station areas.
Due to the closure of these stations, passengers in the area have been suffering much. At some stations, trains still stop and passengers travel without ticket.
Laksam railway junction sources said the closed stations include Daulatganj, Khila, Bipulasar, Bajra and Maizadi stations on the Laksam-Noakhali railway line. Naoti on Laksam-Chittagong railway line. Alishahar, Mainamati and Rajapur on the Laksam-Akhaura railway line. Shahtali, Maisadi, Bhalkhal and Shahrasti of Laksam-Chandpur line.
Sources also said the nominal train stops at some of these closed stations. Besides, most of the stations are closed for a long time. Due to manpower crisis, most of the railway stations are closed.
Besides, the quality of the passenger services of the railways has deteriorated. However, if these closed stations can be modernised again, it will be possible to make the railway profitable and popular in the region.
Station furniture has already been stolen due to the closure of these railway stations for a long time. Apart from this, many property of the station are also gradually being grabbed. Local influential people have reportedly seized the property in various ways.
Khorashed Alam, president of Khila Bazar Traders Association of Monoharganj upazila, said the Khila Station has been closed for the past decade. The traders of the market are being affected because the station is closed. Besides locals are also being deprived of railway services.
Noor Alam, a resident of Bipullasar Railway Station, area on the Laksam-Noakhali railway line, said, "Trains used to stop in the station in the past. We could easily travel by train to different places across the country."
"If the stations open again, the misery of the area will be reduced to some extent", he added.
Senior Deputy Assistant Engineer (Road) Liaquat Ali Majumder, Comilla Railway, said the stations were closed due to the shortage of station masters and manpower crisis.
If station masters are is appointed, the stations will be reopened, he hoped.