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Bangabandhu Railway Bridge to open door for new industries, employment in N-dists

A partial view of the under-construction Bangabandhu Jamuna Railway Bridge — FE Photo
A partial view of the under-construction Bangabandhu Jamuna Railway Bridge — FE Photo

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The people of northern region including Bogura and Sirajganj districts have now started to see the ray of hope as the construction of Bangabandhu Railway Bridge is now progressing at a rapid pace.

Meanwhile, about 80 per cent of the project works have been done, while the rest is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Experts said after the railway bridge is implemented it will reduce the pressure on the Bangabandhu Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge and the highway along with the reduction of import and export costs. Similarly, the risk of developing cracks on different points on the Bangabandhu Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge will reduce. At the same time, the transportation of agricultural goods from the northern region will be easier. The cost of goods' transportation will be reduced, which will bring positive impacts on the economic sector and social life of the region.

Tanvirul Islam, Chief Engineer of Bangabandhu Railway Bridge Project, said, "This dual-gauge double-track bridge will be the largest railway bridge in the country. It will facilitate and improve the railway connectivity between the capital, north and western parts of the country. Apart from this, the railway authorities believe that this bridge will also help reduce schedule disruptions of trains and sufferings of the commuters."

Meanwhile, the works of developing Sirajganj Economic Zone (SEZ) and BSCIC Industrial Park have been undertaken on the western side of the bridge. After implementation of the projects, about 1 million people of the region will get employment facilities. Domestic and foreign industrial entrepreneurs have already shown interest in setting up factories in the regions. Not only that, after the Bangabandhu Railway Bridge is constructed, it will be easy to transport goods from the industrial zone to any country of the world using railways, roads and highways, he added.

Local businessmen believe that the transportation of various goods including agricultural products produced in the 16 districts of the northern region will be easier after inauguration of the railway bridge. There is immense potential of changing the fate of people in the northern region.

Md. Masudur Rahman Milon, President of Bogura Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), told The Financial Express that the long-awaited railway bridge is going to be implemented adjacent to the Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge. It will help establish business and economic hub in the northern region including Bogura."

Al Fattah Md. Masudur Rahman, Director of the Project (PD), said, "The country's largest railway bridge is now being built on the Jamuna river adding both the districts Sirajganj and Tangail. The 4.8 km Bangabandhu Railway Bridge is being constructed on 300 meters upstream of the Bangabandhu Bridge. After the completion of this dual gauge double track bridge, at least 88 trains will be able to run through the bridge."

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is implementing the railway bridge project with the joint funding of Bangladesh and Japan at a cost of Tk 167.8 billion (16,780 crore). The construction of the bridge is scheduled to be completed by August in 2024. After opening of the Bangabandhu Bridge in 1998, the railway link of the north-western part of the country was established.

However, in 2008, due to cracks on different points of the Bangabandhu Bridge, the speed of the train was made restricted. At present, per day about 38 trains are crossing the bridge at a speed of 20 km per hour, causing loss of time and inconvenience to the passengers for continuous schedule disruptions. To resolve the problem, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid foundation stone for construction of the railway bridge on November 29 in 2020, at a cost of Tk 167.8 billion (16,780 crore).

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