BNP has denounced the fare structure of the Metro rail in Dhaka, saying it is much higher than that of metro rails in the neighbouring countries, including India and Pakistan.
“The BNP Standing Committee feels that the government has fixed this fare in violation of the Metro Rail Act and rules. We protest against it,” said BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan.
Speaking at a press conference at the BNP Chairperson’s Gulshan office on Tuesday, he also said the fare of the metro rail in Dhaka is not only double the private bus fare of the country but also 2 to 5 times higher than the fare of the metro rails in various cities of India and Pakistan.
The BNP leader said the Dhaka Metrorail's minimum fare was fixed at Tk 20 which is almost double to four times higher than the fares of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Lahore.
Besides, he said the maximum fare of Tk 100 fixed for a distance of 20 km is 3-5 times higher than Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Lahore, reports UNB.
Khan said it was mentioned in the rules and regulations of the Metro rail that this project was taken with public money to make the travel of the people of Dhaka metropolis easier and cheaper.
"But we’re now seeing that the Metro rail fare is almost double Dhaka's bus fare. Had there been a democratic government elected by the people and accountable to the people, it wouldn’t have taken such an anti-people decision (on metro rail fares). This is why the fall of this anti-people government has become so imperative,” he observed.
The BNP leader said it is not justified to charge such exorbitant fares for the Dhaka metro rail. "We have presented a comparative picture of metro rail fares and we think the fares of metro rail should be lower in our country.”
He said the metro rail fares in Dhaka are much higher and several times higher than anywhere else in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Lahore. “This extra money will be taken out of people's pockets."
Khan alleged that the government has fixed such irrational fares for metro rail as it spent huge extra money on the project by indulging in corruption, plundering and various misdeeds. “Why should the public be held responsible for their (govt')s crimes? The public is not interested in this additional cost.”
He urged the government to live up to its commitment to making the metro-rail journey easy and affordable for the people.
At the press conference, Khan also presented the decisions of the meeting of their party’s standing committee that was held on Monday night.
He said their meeting opposed the government’s move to construct two new floating LNG terminals at the time of the import crisis.
"When the supply capacity of the country's two LNG terminals fell below 50 per cent due to the import crisis, the government planned to build two new floating LNG terminals only to indulge in corruption over strategic products like energy. Our meeting strongly denounced such a move and urged the government to refrain from such anti-people activities,” the BNP leader said.
He said their meeting also strongly condemned and protested the assault on freedom fighter and eminent water specialist engineer, Dr Inamul Haque, by the ruling party activists on December 24 in the city’s Shahbagh area when he was conducting a campaign against the government’s corruption, vote rigging and anti-mass activities.
The BNP leader demanded exemplary punishment for those responsible for the incident. At the same time, he said the BNP standing committee condemned and protested the police raid on the house of talk-show host Zillur Rahman.
Khan also protested the arrest of BNP leaders and activists in different areas of the country and demanded the immediate release of all arrested opposition leaders and workers.