Criminals and social offenders are found to be very innovative in finding new methods of committing a crime. In their business, they find new ways of earning their bread, many of which outsmarts the crime busters. In one such case low-level employees of the state-owned Bangladesh Railways in collusion with others have given birth to a new idea to steal state money and making a quick buck, pushing the organisation to further operational losses.
This illicit way of squeezing money, nicknamed ‘rent-a-drum’ is a booming business now and desperate train passengers are their easy targets.After confirmation that a passenger was looking for a ticket desperately, the criminals offer them quick solution - tickets at lower than set price, but no seats and only makeshift chairs. This is “Rent-a-drum” business.
This “crime,” in the name of helping commuters is sadly getting in the front of railway police and a daily sun probe team found the new method to travel by train was getting popular.
Rent-a-drum is a package deal under which all a traveller needs to do is to hire a stool to sit on at any corner of the compartment in exchange of a certain amount of money. The passenger is not required to buy a ticket. At the end of the travel such a passenger is provided with a used ticket to make his exit hassle-free.
These so called service providers collect the used tickets reportedly from concerned railway officers. According to media reports, increasing number of travellers are availing themselves of this illegal practice. As a result, the government is losing about 8 million takas in revenue per month from a single inter-city train.
It is an age-old story that Bangladesh Railway is a losing concern in the public sector. In addition to corruption, inefficiency and mismanagement of the administration, scores of such fraudulent activities by the officers, workers and employees of this major communication system are responsible for its sorry state of affairs.
Bangladesh Railway is unlikely to come out this vicious cycle of corrupt practices and abysmal financial loss unless drastic measures are taken against the perpetrators of such fraudulent activities. But railway authorities were never found to take stringent actions against their corrupt staff. Only a complete overhauling and an anti-graft drive can save the railways from its moribund condition and make it profitable.