Ecnec clears Padma Bridge rail link project

Ecnec clears Padma Bridge rail link project

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The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved ‘Padma Bridge rail link’ project involving an estimated cost of Tk 34,988.86 crore in a bid to set up improved rail connectivity between the capital and the southwestern part of the country through the Padma Bridge.The approval came from the 29th Ecnec meeting of the current fiscal year held at the NEC conference room with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said a total of nine projects were approved today involving Tk 44,167.14 crore.
“Of the total project cost, Tk 19,265.85 crore will come from the national exchequer, Tk 152.24 crore from the organisation’s own fund while Tk 24,749.05 crore from project assistance,” he said.
Of the approved nine projects, eight are new and another revised one, he added.
The Planning Minister said Bangladesh Railway under the Railways Ministry will implement ‘Padma Bridge rail link’ project by June 2022.
Of the total project cost of Tk 34,988.86 crore, Tk 10,239.81 crore will come from the public coffer while Tk 24,749.05 crore as project assistance from the Chinese government on G-to-G basis.
He said a plan is there to introduce rail communications through the Padma Bridge simultaneously when it would be opened for traffic in 2018.
The total length of this new track will be 215.22 kilometers, including three kilometer double line on Dhaka-Gendaria section.
Mustafa Kamal said this railway network through the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, having a provision of roadways on the upper deck and railways in the lower deck, will connect Jessore and then Khulna, Benapole, and Mongla through Mawa and Bhanga.
The railway track will 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 proposed project will bring four new districts — Munshiganj, Shariatpur, Madaripur and Narail—under railway network alongside improving the standard of passenger services and passengers’ facilities.
The new railway track will go through Motijheel, Sabujbagh, Sutrapur, Demra, Keraniganj, Fatullah, Sirajdikhan, Srinagar, Louhajang and Janzira. Then the track will go through Shibchar, Bhanga of Faridpur, Nagarkanda, Saltha, Moksudpur, and Kashiani of Gopalganj, Lohagara, Narail Sadar, Bagpara and Jessore Sadar.
The Planning Minister said the Padma Bridge Rail Link would reduce the distance between Dhaka and Jessore; Dhaka and Khulna, and Dhaka and Darshana by 184.72 kilometers, 212.05 kilometers and 44.24 kilometers respectively alongside increasing the travel time.
The Padma Bridge Rail Link project has already been included in the list of Fast Track projects while Bangladesh Army in association with BRTC and Buet will be given as EPC for the project.
Asked whether there is too much cost involvement in the project, the Planning Minister said the proposed land acquisition would be the main reason for such cost involvement saying that the land cost is much higher in Bangladesh compared to countries like Thailand and Myanmar.
The other projects approved at the meeting are upgradation to four-lane from Jatrabari intersection to Mawa on Dhaka-Khulna (N-8) highway and separate land in Pachhar-Bhanga portion with Tk 6,252.29 crore, road widening from Ramnagar crossroad to Abalpur in Magura town on National Highway N-7 with Tk 91.94 crore, power distribution system development project, Sylhet with Tk 1,890.85 crore, construction of multipurpose cyclone shelter (2nd phase) in coastal and cyclone prone areas with Tk 533.16 crore, checking and control of animal diseases with Tk 77.49 crore, Uddyantattik crops research strengthening and technology expansion of field crops in char areas with Tk 70.56 crore, further infrastructure development of Khulna university with Tk 188.44 crore and 1000 kilowatt medium wave transmitter of Bangladesh Betar with Tk 73.55 crore.
Ministers, State Ministers, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present at the meeting.

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