Sales of advance train tickets before Eid-ul-Fitr for various destinations from Dhaka began at the Kamalapur station on Sunday morning amid mismanagement, with people standing in long queues for hours, Bangladesh Railway officials said.
People willing to leave Dhaka for outlying destinations at Eid, which is likely to be celebrated on either August 31 or September 1, rushed to the railway station early in the day to buy advance tickets for journeys on August 26.
Railways officials said that 5 per cent of the tickets were reserved for very important persons and 5 per cent more were reserved for railway staff and their families. They said that 25 per cent of the tickets were being sold through mobile operators.
People could buy tickets after waiting in queues for three hours while a large number of people had waited at the station from Saturday night till the ticket booths opened.
Long queues in the ticket counters for the Rajshahi-bound Silk City, Dhumketu and Padma Express trains, Khulna-bound Sundarban and Chitra Express trains, Dinajpur-bound Ekata and Lalmonirhat-bound Lalmonirhat Express trains.
Most of the advance tickets were sold out by 2:30pm and the people who had queued in front of the tickets booths for hours were frustrated.
People, however, alleged that black-marketeers had stood in the queues.
Mahmudul Hasan, who was there to buy ticket for Jamalpur, said that the the screens displaying information on the tickets had been turned off most of the time when the tickets were being sold.
People in the transport business said that about three-fourths of about 1.20 crore people living in the capital were expected to leave Dhaka on Eid by road, railway and river routes.
The railway will provide transport for more than one lakh people this year.
The tickets are up for sales five days before the date of journey at the 13 ticket counters at the Kamalapur stations between 9:00am and 5:00pm every day.
Tickets for the journey on August 27 will be sold on August 22, for August 28 on August 23, for August 29 on August 24 and for August 30 on August 25.
The security personnel feared that they would face problems in tackling the crowd on August 23 and 24 as the tickets for journey on August 28 and 29 will be sold the days.
Grammenphone and Banglalink users can also book tickets by sending text messages as the companies are selling a quarter of the tickets, officials said.
Several buyers, however, said that they had failed to buy tickets because of problems in the mobile network.
Standing tickets for journeys without seating arrangement will be available at the station counters every day to cope with the Eid rush, the officials said.
Pavel Rahman, who was there to buy tickets for Chittagong, said ‘Tickets for the first class and air-conditioned compartments were not available immediately after the counters had opened. Sellers claim that the tickets have already been sold out.’
Sources at the station also said the ticket sellers had collaboration with middlemen and they have put people in the queues to buy tickets which would be sold on the black market later.
Some people said that the advance tickets were being sold on the black market for higher prices at a little distance from the ticket counters.
The station manager, Sitangshu Chakrawarty, however, brushed aside any such allegation and said one could buy only four tickets at a time.
‘Rapid Action Battalion personnel and additional policemen, both in uniform and plain clothes, are deployed at the station to stop tickets from being sold on the black market and to keep law and order,’ Sitangshu said.
Battalion officials at the station’s complaint desk said that they had received a few allegations from buyers and tried to look into them.
The railway official said that they would run 39 trains on different routes and three special trains will run on the Dhaka–Khulna, Dhaka–Dewanganj and Dhaka–Parbatipur routes every day between August 28 and the day before Eid.
The railway add about 107 extra coaches to the intercity and mail trains. There will be no holidays for intercity train staff and officials on the occasion of Eid.
-With New Age input