The government has taken a massive move to upgrade the country’s railway network as the sector is considered as the safest, comfortable, affordable and environment-friendly means for transporting passengers and goods.
According to an official document, considering the importance of the railway sector the government wants to implement several projects “to ensure a balanced and integrated development”.
All these activities will be done under the 8th Five Year Plan (2021-2025), which targets to achieve 8.51 per cent GDP growth with yearly 8 per cent growth on average in the next five years. The plan also envisages reducing the poverty rate to 15.6 per cent at the end of the deadline.
Under the 8th Five-Year Plan, comprehensive steps will be taken to construct 798.09 km of new railway lines, 897 km of dual gauge/double railway lines parallel to existing railway lines and renovation of 846.51 km of the railway network.
It also includes the construction of nine important railway bridges and other infrastructural development schemes including level crossing gates, domestic container depos, building and modernisation of repair and maintenance outlets.
The document says that under the 8th Five-Year Plan there will be the procurement of 160 locomotives, 1,704 passenger coaches, modern maintenance equipment, improvement of the signalling system at 222 stations and strengthening of railway management.
Meanwhile, the government is implementing the 30-year revised Master Plan (2016-2045) of the Bangladesh Railway.
According to the plan, steps have been taken for connecting Dhaka with Cox’s Bazar, Mongla Seaport, Tungipara, Barishal, Chattogram Hill Tracts and other parts of the country under the railway network.
The initiatives included in the plan are: establishing Trans-Asian Railway and Regional Railway Network and connecting important cities with the nearest suburbs by introducing a modern commuter train service.
The Trans-Asian Railway network, which was initiated in the 1960s, comprises 114,000 km of rail routes of international importance. It aims to offer efficient rail transport services for goods and passengers within the ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) region and between Asia and Europe.
Under this master plan, 230 projects will be implemented in six phases at a cost of Tk 5.5 trillion, reports UNB.
The document said that the overall progress of the Padma Multipurpose Rail Link Project is 58 per cent while the overall improvement of construction work of the double track dual gauge railway bridge on the river Jamuna is 40 per cent.
It also says 71 per cent of construction work of the single-line dual gauge track from Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar via Ramu and from Ramu to Gundum, near Myanmar border, has been completed.
In addition, approximately 90 per cent of work on the Khulna-Mongla railway project has been completed.
Construction work of Rupsha Rail Bridge is nearly completed, it says.
The government has also taken initiatives to build a railway line from Bhanga in Faridpur to Payra port via Barishal and Patuakhali to connect Payra Port with Padma Rail Link.
The approval of the revised manpower structure of 47,703 posts is in the process, which will enhance the quality of service of railways, according to the document.