The Bangladesh Railway is going to start Mango Special train service from today, after multiple delays, to facilitate mango growers of Chapainawabganj and Rajshahi to carry mangoes to Dhaka.
However, the Railways is uncertain about how long they will be able to continue the service, which is being launched late as almost half of the mango season has ended, raising question how much help will the service be to the cultivators.
Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan will inaugurate the service at Chapainawabganj Railway Station at 11am, confirmed Asim Kumar Talukder, general manager (west) of BR.
“We do not have any specific plan on how many days this special train for mangoes can be continued. It may continue till we get bookings,” he said.
Asim also said BR will start the Cattle Special Train ahead of Eid-ul-Adha soon. Some locomotives will be sent to workshops for maintenance works and repairing for that purpose.
Meanwhile, one train will be operating for carrying mangoes to Dhaka every day from Chapainawabganj at 4:00pm. Mangoes will be collected from Rohanpur, Rajshahi, Arani, Abdulpur and Ishwari stations. The number of stations might be increased considering the number of pre-bookings. To transport mangoes, farmers will need to spend up to Tk 1.32 per kg.
This year, the date of launching the service was changed three times. Initially, it was announced that the train would start on May 25, but the authorities backtracked from the decision citing shortage of mangoes. Later, as an initiative to start the train on June 7, Bangladesh Railway published the schedule and fare list of the special train on June 2.
But as it was decided that the minister himself would come and inaugurate the train, the date was deferred by a day.
Sources said earlier, the authorities were busy with issues like inauguration of Chilahati Express by the prime minister on June 4 and handover ceremony of 20 Indian locomotives on May 23.
The mango season in Chapainawabganj started in the third week of May and will continue till mid-July and harvesting in Rajshahi started on May 4 and got momentum by the mid-May. The cultivators would benefit better if the service could be started by June 1, according to sources.
According to the mango special train service’s schedule, it will leave from Rahanpur in Chapainawabganj for Dhaka at 4:00pm and reach Nachol station at 4:20pm, Nizampur Railway station at 4:40pm, Amanura junction at 5:00pm, Chapainawabganj Railway station at 6:00pm, Amanura Bypass and Kankanhat at 6:40pm. The train will leave the Rajshahi Railway station at 7:30 for Dhaka.
The capital-bound Mango Special train was first launched on June 5, 2020. That year, 1.67 lakh kg of mangoes were transported till July 21 through the service. The service was launched for the second time on 27 May 2021 when 2.36 lakh kg of mangoes were transported.
Last year, a total of 1.48 lakhs kg of mangoes were transported under the service.