Friday, 15 June 2012

BD, India sign deal to build Khulna-Mongla rail-line

India, under its credit line, will assist Bangladesh to construct a new rail-line between Khulna and Mongla to connect the country's second seaport with railway network.

In connection with the assistance, the Bangladesh Railway (BR) signed a joint venture consultancy service contract with Consulting Engineers Group Ltd and Nippon Koei India Private Ltd of India at Railway Bhaban in the city Thursday.

BR Chief Engineer Kairul Alam, K Rankata Rahamana Murti of Consulting Engineers Group and Dr Sanjoy Arura of Nippon Koei India signed the contract on behalf of their respective sides.

Officials said under the deal, the joint venture of the Indian firms will conduct both feasibility and safeguard policy studies apart from detailed design of the new track.

Besides, the firms will prepare the bidding documents for the BR to select firm for construction of the proposed 53 kilometre rail-line, and do its supervision work.

The construction cost of the Khulna-Mongla rail-line has been estimated Tk 17.21 billion, of which Tk 12.02 billion will come from the US$1.0 billion Indian line of credit.

The BR earlier planned to construct the track from Shiromoni to Mongla, some 12 km north of the Khulna rail-station to avoid construction of rail-bridge over the wide Rupsha River.

However, the track will now connect the abandoned Bagerhat rail-line in between Karnapur and Samantosena.

The BR now has a rail-track from Dhaka to Khulna through Jessore, which has stopped at the Rupsha River due to lack of any bridge.

Communications and Railway Minister Obaidul Quader witnessed the signing ceremony and reiterated the government's commitment to upgrade the railway network and make it commuter-friendly.

He said the railway timetable is now being maintained properly, and rail-service will be improved further after it receives locomotives next year.

The minister said from next March, the BR will start receiving two locomotives each month, and its service would improve significantly.

BR director general Abu Taher said the new track will eventually lead to regional and sub-regional connectivity, connecting the Mongla Port with India, and land-locked Nepal and Bhutan.

Senior officials of the railway ministry and the BR were also present on the occasion.

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