The government’s plans to introduce high-speed electric trains in Bangladesh for long-distance journeys.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the announcement while inaugurating a new inter-city train service on the Dhaka-Panchagarh route through a video conference at Ganabhaban on Saturday, report bdnews24.com and UNB.
"We are going to start the metro rail which will be followed by the launch of electric trains. It will be very environmentally friendly. We're working on it," she said.
At present, Bangladesh only operates diesel-driven trains. But the country will witness its first electric trains with the launch of Dhaka's metro rail. Hasina hopes to launch the long-distance high-speed electric trains soon after.
Fuel-driven trains have been replaced by electric locomotives in most of the developed world, including a few developing nations, in an effort to curb pollution.
Referring to the growing confidence of the people on the railway system, Hasina said, "Railway communication is becoming more attractive by the day. More people are now choosing to travel by train.”
She reiterated the need to modernise the railway system as well as adding more passenger coaches to meet the growing demand.
Highlighting various steps taken by her government to expand the country’s rail network over the last 10 years, she said, "We are carrying out extensive work on the development of railways."
The Prime Minister said that the government has taken various programmes to connect the railways with the regional as well as trans-Asian rail network.
She said her government has built many new stations and introduced new trains, apart from modernising the signalling system and constructing 346-kilometre new rail lines.
Besides, steps have been taken to recruit more people for railway, she said, asking concerned authorities to complete the recruitment process soon.
Hasina was also critical of the erstwhile BNP government, which she said, failed to develop the railway sector in any way.
Since assuming office in 2009, the ruling Awami League government has far allocated Tk 500 billion for the railway sector, said the prime minister. The government has implemented 64 projects so far with work on another 48 projects under way.
During this period, around 371 km of new railway lines have been constructed while a 248-km meter-gauge railway track has been converted into a dual-gauge. Repairs have been carried out on about 1000 km of old rail tracks, according to Hasina.
Railways Minister M Nurul Islam Sujan also spoke at the programme from Bir Muktijoddha Sirajul IslamRailway Station in Panchagarh through videoconference.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Agriculture Minister Dr Abrur Razzaque and Indonesian Ambassador to Bangladesh Rina P Soemarno were also present at the programme at Ganobhaban.
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