Bangladesh Rail Ministry sends Tk 17B proposal to Planning Commission for boosting Indo-Bangla Rail connectivity

DHAKA: The Railways Ministry has planned to convert the Parbatipur-Kownia railway track into a dual gauge one with Indian 2nd Line of Credit (LoC) to boost connectivity between Bangladesh and India.

The ministry has sent a draft project proposal titled ‘Converting Parbatipur-Kownia railway track of Bangladesh Railway into dual gauge’ to the Planning Commission with an estimated cost of Tk 17.25 billion (1,725.57 crore).

The Bangladesh Railway will implement the proposed project by June 2022, said an official at the Planning Commission. Of the total project cost, the official said, the Indian government will provide Tk 14 billion from its Line of Credit while the rest of Tk 3.25 billion will come from the state exchequer.

According to the 7th Five Year Plan, the government is planning to set up a 1,110-km dual gauge railway double track as both Bangladesh and India have put emphasis on boosting connectivity through railway network to enhance travel of passengers and transportation of goods.

Talking to the news agency, another official at the Ministry of Railways said the Parbatipur-Kownia railway track was last renovated during 1987-1992 period. But, due to lack of renovation over the years, the slippers and other infrastructure of the track became dilapidated for which inter-city and other trains cannot use this route at their desired speed.

Once the project is completed, the official said, it will help increase the travel of commuters and transportation of goods alongside increasing facilities for trans-border railway traffic through bringing this route under broad gauge network.

The official said the Pre-Evaluation Committee (PEC) meeting on the project was held recently and the project will be soon placed before ECNEC for its consideration.

The Railway Ministry official said that the main project operations include converting some 66.89 kilometres of railway track into dual gauge one at Parbatipur in Dinajpur, Rangpur district headquarters, Badarganj and Kawnia upazilas with an estimated cost of Tk 7.86 billion. Out of this 66.89 kilometres of track, there will be 57 kilometres main track and 9.89 kilometres of loop line.

The other project operations include conducting some 352-metre bridge works at Tk 3.45 billion, signaling works at Tk 933 million, office equipment procurement at Tk 2.0 million, procuring tamping station and P-way equipment at Tk 1.5 million alongside the construction of four station buildings, seven platforms, four platform-shed extension, and seven station approach road construction.

The project is included in the list of unapproved new project in the Annual Development Programme (ADP) of the current fiscal year, subject to availability of foreign funds.