Bangladesh government has taken a big development programme in the new fiscal to upgrade the railway communication considering the public-friendly role of railways as a cheap and safe mode of communication across the country.
According to a budget document, construction of 900km dual gauge double track and 1,581 km new rail track will be completed within this fiscal.
“Refurbishment of 1,527km rail track and 100 passenger coaches, procurement of 31 locomotives, and improvement of the signaling system at 222 stations will be done in the running fiscal year,” it also said.
Besides, the document adds, steps will be taken to begin implementation of the construction of the High-Speed Dhaka- Chattogram double track rail line project via Cumilla/Laksam, the Bhanga Junction (Faridpur)-Payra rail line project via Barishal, the Navaron-Satkhira-Munshiganj broad gauge rail line project, and the Dhaka City Circular rail line project.
According to a senior official of the Railways Ministry, the government has taken a number of measures for the overall development of this sector. He mentioned that implementation of the 30-year ‘Railways Masterplan (2016- 2045)’ at a cost of Tk. 5,53,662 crore has already begun.
“Works, such as expansion of railways, construction of new rail lines and refurbishment of old ones, conversion of railways into dual gauges, opening of closed rail stations together with the new ones, introducing new trains and improving the services of other trains, procurement of train coaches, etc. have been continuing,” he said.
As per the budget document, construction of 25kms of new rail lines, refurbishment of 25kms of old rail lines, construction of 30 new rail bridges, reconstruction of 14 old rail bridges, procurement of 136 new passengers carriages, introduction of 6 new trains (inc. Benapole Express, Kurigram Express, Jamalpur Express), and expansion of 4 existing train services (Rajbari Express and Dhalarchar Express) have been completed in the last fiscal that ended June 30.
“The implementation of the Dhaka to Padma Bridge Railway Link Project is progressing fast,” it reads.
The budget for development of the railways is Tk 12,491 crore in the 2020-21 fiscal,which was Tk 10,249 crore in the last year’s revised budget.
Meanwhile, to establish an integrated and uninterrupted communication network in the country, many large projects including the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel under the Karnaphuli river, the Dhaka Elevated Expressway from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kutubkhali on the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway, are being implemented.
According to the document, construction of the Padma Bridge with our own financing is progressing fast. The work on Maowa and Janjira connecting roads and Service Area-2 has already been completed.
“Overall physical progress of the Padma Bridge project upto February 2020 is 78.0 percent; 4.5 kilometer of the bridge has so far become visible.”
It also mentioned that 51 percent of construction work of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel has already been completed.
Besides, construction work of the 24 kilometer-long Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway is expected to begin soon.
“There is a plan to carry out a Feasibility Study to construct a tunnel under the Jamuna river connecting Gaibandha and Jamalpur districts,” the document said.
Feasibility Studies were carried out to construct five large bridges in the southern part of the country over the Paira river in Patuakhali-Amtali-Barguna road, the Meghna river in Bhulta-Araihazar-Nabinagar road, the Tetulia and Kalabadar rivers to connect the Barishal district with the Bhola district, and the Bishkhali river in Barguna-Patharghata road, and efforts are being made to get finance for their construction.
Some Tk 24,825 crore has been allocated for the development of road transport and highways division for 2020-21 fiscal while it was Tk 23,960 crore in the revised budget of the last fiscal.