Shohel Mamun: The government has decided to launch train services over the Padma river at the same time as the opening of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, scheduled to be completed by December 2018.
The decision was made at an inter-ministerial meeting, presided over by Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader at the Bangladesh secretariat yesterday.
This new decision is an update from the original project plan, which scheduled the first phase of the Padma bridge rail-link project to be completed by 2022.
The Padma Bridge rail-link project, included in the list of the government’s Fast Track projects, will be implemented with a cost of Tk34,988.86 crore, aiming to connect the southern parts of the country with Dhaka.
The Bridges Minister said “This project is our priority and as per the government’s political commitment, we would like to launch the bridge and the rail link at the same time in 2018.”
According to the project summary, the total length of this new railway track will be 215.22 kilometers, while the track distance of the first phase will be 82km.
Rail Minister Mujibul Haque also presented in the meeting, clarifying that “The train will run only between Munshiganj’s Mawa and Faridpur’s Bhanga at the time of opening in 2018.”
The rail track will eventually go through seven districts of Dhaka Division – Dhaka, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Shariatpur, Madaripur, Faridpur and Gopalganj – and two districts of Khulna Division – Narail and Jessore.
The planning minister A H M Mustafa Kamal said that the rail-link project, once completed, will reduce travel time and distance between Dhaka and Jessore, Dhaka and Khulna, and Dhaka and Darshana (Chuadanga) by 184.72 km, 212.05 km and 44.24 km respectively.
The government has also formed a technical coordination committee to ensure that the construction of the rail line is aligned with the construction of the Padma Bridge.
Obaidul Quader said: “The Padma Bridge rail-link project was overlapping with Dhaka Wasa’s water-refining project. We have formed a committee to solve this problem. They will start working from tomorrow [Monday] and continue their work until August 24.”