August 12, 2020: Railway service in Bangladesh is going to enter another era of globalization linking- India, Nepal, and Bhutan. With the implementation of the Mongla-Khulna railway project under construction, it will be possible to establish a railway network linking the country’s second-largest seaport Mongla with neighboring countries.
This will enable import and export trade of goods with India, Nepal, and Bhutan through the establishment of SAARC Multimodal Transport.
In addition, the expansion of trade between the SAARC countries, the country’s industrial and trade expansion will create employment, reduce poverty, support GDP growth, the world’s largest mangrove Sundarbans domestic and foreign tourist travel will be easy and safe. As a result, the government’s revenue will also increase, said the concerned.
According to the IMED report, the originally approved project was targeted to be implemented between December 31, 2010, and December 31, 2013. Later, the term was extended for one year till December 2014. Due to the lack of progress, the term was extended for the second time till June 2017. For the third time, the term was extended for another two years till June 2020. Currently, the process of extending the term until June 2021 is underway.
On the other hand, the original approved cost of the project under Indian Debt (LOC) was Tk 1,721.39 crore. Of this, Tk 519.08 crore is to be spent from the government’s own funds and Tk 1,022.31 crore from Indian loans. Through the revision of the project, the expenditure was increased to Tk 3,801.61 crore.
In this case, Tk 1,430.26 crore was spent from the government’s own funds and Tk 2,371.34 crore from Indian loan. In this case, the total cost of the project has increased by 120.85 percent.
According to the Development Project Proposal (DPP), the progress of the project was expected to be 87 percent by June 2020, IMED said. But at present till April 30, the overall physical progress of the project has reached 63.01 percent and the financial progress has been 65.54 percent. Work on the project has stalled due to coronavirus outbreak.
It is learned that the issues related to the land of Mongla Port Authority were discussed in the meeting of the Project Steering Committee and Project Implementation Committee.
The PEC meeting has discussed at various times that the future revision of the DPP by the Bangladesh Railway or the project authority should take into account the 90.12 acres of land in Mongla port or the provision of money for rent for railway storage.
However, it has been mentioned that the project office will provide funds for the payment of the land price at a later date. But the IRCON INTERNATIONAL LIMITED will pay for the railway storage.
The establishment of a railway line from Khulna to Mongla will create a rail link between Mongla port and Khulna and the whole of Bangladesh. The Rupsha railway bridge of this project will be the longest railway bridge in the country.
On 21 December 2010, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the construction of the Khulna-Mongla railway line. Later, in November 2012, CEG Nippon Koei JV of India was appointed as the consultant for the project. Secretary of the Ministry of Railways Tofazzal Hossain inaugurated the piling work of Rupsha Railway Bridge on October 15, 2016.
The work of the Khulna-Mongla railway project has been divided into three parts. One is the railway bridge, the other is the railway line and the other is telecommunication and signaling.
There are eight stations from Fultala to Mongla in Khulna. The stations include Fultala, Aranghata, Mohammad Nagar, Katakhali, Chulkathi, Bhaga, Digraj, and Mongla.
The cost of the Khulna-Mongla rail project has been estimated at Tk 3,801.61 crore. Of this, Tk 1,149.89 crore is for railways and Tk 1,076.45 crore is for bridges. The rest of the money has been spent on land acquisition.
The railway is being constructed with the financial assistance of the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and the Government of India. Indian contractors Larsen & Toubro are completing work on the main railway bridge over the Rupsha River.
The overall cooperation is being provided in the ongoing Khulna-Mongla railway construction activities, said Mongla Port Authority Director (Administration) Md. Gias Uddin. The project will contribute to the socio-economic development of the region, he added.
Project Director Md. Jahangir Hossain said the activities have been suspended due to coronavirus outbreak. However, the basic activities of the project have been completed. “I hope there will be no more problems in implementation,” he added.
Source: Daily Industry