Tickets sold on black market
Banker Rehan Ahmed rushed to Jamalpur after his grandmother passed away last month. Spending some days there, he went to the local railway station to buy the next day's ticket to the capital. But all he got was disappointed.
Without any rush of passengers on a working day, he was told that all the tickets had been sold out.
Worried, he looked for the ticket on the black market there and eventually got it, but for a hefty price. He came back to Dhaka by Teesta Express.
Talking to The Daily Star, several passengers, including the banker, alleged that Jamalpur Railway Station has turned into a “den” of scalpers.
There is a “syndicate” comprised of some of the railway staff and locals which buys all the tickets, creating an “artificial crisis” of tickets and leaving passengers with no option but to get those from the black market.
“A few days ago, my brother went to the ticket counter and sought three tickets for two consecutive days [either for February 29 or March 1]. But he had to return empty handed,” said Rebeka Sulatana, who was returning to Dhaka with her mother and son.
Finding no other way, the brother bought the tickets from the scalpers.
Showing this correspondent one of the tickets, she said, “See the ticket itself shows that the time of its sale was 13:36pm on February 29. It means the man inside the counter had lied that day.”
“Black market ticket sale is quite common in Jamalpur. I used to return to Dhaka by train before but now I take a bus to avoid the trouble,” said a local, Moshiur Islam Monna who is a first year student at Bangladesh Institute of Marine Academy.
Recently, this correspondent also looked for two tickets to Dhaka on one of the counters at the station.
However, a middle-aged man with white beard, who was sitting inside, said straight away that all the tickets had been sold five days ago.
The reporter then went to a nearby grocery shop and asked the grocer where he could get tickets.
The grocer showed him a place near the station where the correspondent met a man named Aynal who sold two double-seat tickets, worth Tk 320 and Tk 380, for Tk 600 and Tk 700.
Aynal claimed that he had bought the tickets for quite a high price from the railway employees at the station.
During the time of the conservation, many other scalpers were seen selling tickets to other passengers under the very nose of law enforcement agency members.
Contacted, Station Master Mohammad Tarique said locals could sell tickets on the black market but refuted the allegation that railway employees at the station were involved in the crime.
“Crisis [of tickets] takes place due to the sale of advance tickets. We've nothing to do with that.” he said.
Additional Director General of Bangladesh Railway Habibur Rahman said they were not aware of such evil practice at any railway station.
“It is not our duty to catch those who sell tickets on the black market.” he said, adding, “We will ask the local superintendent of police and the deputy commissioner to take action once we get any complaint [in this regard].”