Tuesday, 28 September, 2021
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Protect railway property

Protect railway property

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Grabbing of railway land and structures is the first target of a section of organised criminals in the country. Taking advantage of lack of care and protection of the vast landed property of the railway department, organised gangs join hands with a section of corrupt government officials and political entities and take possession of them under various pretexts to make money. Media investigative reports have often brought the issue to the attention of the authorities concerned and as a result though some actions were taken in the past but that was not enough compared to the scale of the crime.
To face the challenge, a draft law was approved by the Cabinet on Monday aiming to protect the property of Bangladesh Railway keeping the provision of maximum seven years in prison, fine or both for grabbing railway property. The draft law has also kept a provision of five years in jail or fine or both for helping the grabbers who illegally possess railway assets. A daily sun reports says that the Cabinet gave its approval to the draft of the ‘Railway Property (Unlawful Possession Reclamation) Act, 2016’ which was prepared by translating and updating the existing “Railway Property (Unlawful Possession Reclamation) Ordinance, 1979” issued during military regimes.
The report further says that the draft law was prepared in accordance with a decision of the Cabinet to uphold those important laws which were enacted during the military regimes in between 1975 to 1979 and 1982 to 1984. Under the Act the Railway Nirapotta Bahini (RNB), the Railway Security Force, could arrest offenders without any warrant as such acts would be considered as cognisable offence.
Theoretically, the draft law sounds solid enough but everything depends on the proper implementation in the field. How much and how forcefully the law will be enforced to deter the grabbers will depend on the honesty and sincerity of every member of the railway department.
Since the railway employs a large number of personnel in various departments, it would be quite a daunting task to monitor each and every one of them. Greater awareness campaigns to arouse a sense of patriotism in the staff members will be required alongside offering them better salary and other perks so that they stay away from grabbing railway property.