Govt in hunt for donors to fund $4.28b BR projects

FHM Humayan Kabir
The government is searching for funds from foreign donors to implement 10 large railway projects as it will require US$ 4.28 billion to set up regional transport link within the country, officials said.

Communications ministry officials said Bangladesh Railway (BR) has undertaken 10 projects for setting up new railway line and upgrading the existing facilities as the government has laid emphasis on regional transport integration.

“We have requested Economic Relations Division (ERD) to search for the large amount of funds. We have also sent proposals to the planning commission for getting approval,” a senior ministry official told the FE.

The BR will set up new railway track between Bhanga and Mawa through the Padma Bridge at a cost of $ 435 million, rail-cum-road bridge over the Jamuna river at Bahadurabad-Fulchharighat point at $ 1.64 billion and railway link between Dhaka and Mawa at $ 425 million.

It will also construct railway line between Bhanga and Jessore at a cost of $ 400 million, between Tungipara and Mongla port at $ 240 million, between Bhanga and Barisal at $ 408 million, between Dohazari and Cox’s Bazar and Ramu and Gundum at $ 268 million and a rail-cum-road bridge at Kalurghat over the Karnaphuli river at $ 120 million.

Besides, the BR will set up double-track line between Akhaura and Laksham at a cost of $ 260 million and signalling and inter-locking system at 25 stations at the Kaunia-Lalmonirhat, Shantahar-Bonarpara-Kaunia, Parbotipur-Syedpur sections at $ 35.70 million.

“We are expecting most of the funds from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as it has suggested us to take up the railway line upgradation plan and also proposed to set up regional transport facilities within this subcontinent,” the communications ministry official said.

The Manila-based donor has already confirmed $ 12 million loan for conducting feasibility study and preparing designs for 11 road and railway projects aimed at setting up cross-border connectivity.

ADB has suggested constructing a railway bridge parallel to the existing Jamuna Bridge and rail track from Dhaka to Jessore via Padma Bridge and Bhanga, reconstructing Hardinge Railway Bridge in Pakshi and setting up railway link between Dohazari and Cox’s Bazar and between Ramu and Gundum near Myanmar border.

Besides, the multilateral donor has advised the government to construct Phulchhari-Bahadurabad railway-cum-road bridge on the Jamuna river and renovate the signalling system between Iswardi-Parbatipur railway line.

The anti-poverty lender has also proposed to upgrade and construct six road links which will play a key role in establishing regional links and boosting cross-border trade.

The ADB will bankroll renovation works for Sonamasjid-Rajshahi-Jamuna Bridge road, Burimari-Rangpur road, Tamabil-Sylhet-Dhaka road, Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf road.

Besides, the Asia-Pacific lender will support to prepare design for upgrading Phulbari-Banglabandh-Hatikamrul road, Benapole-Jessore-Magura-Douladia-Paturia-Darkhar-Akhaura road and Akhaura-Darkhar-Comilla-Chittagong road to facilitate regional connectivity.

A senior planning ministry official said they had already sent two projects, out of the proposed 10, to the ERD to search for funds from different donors including ADB.

The remaining eight projects will be sent to the ERD shortly so that BR can start their implementation as soon as possible, he said.


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