Two Chinese state-owned companies have recently written to the government, expressing their interest in implementing the Dhaka-Chittagong hi-speed railway project.
They wanted to execute the project on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis through government to government (G2G) collaboration.
The two companies were - China Railway Group Ltd (CREC) and China Communications Construction Ltd (CCCC).
The CREC wrote a letter to the government on January 15, and the CCCC on March 18. The letters were sent through the Bangladesh Embassy in China. The FE has obtained copies of both the letters.
The US$ 11-billion project is one of the major projects of the government. The Bangladesh Railway (BR) plans to implement the project, under which 227 km-long rail track will be constructed to connect the capital with the port city.
In its letter, the CREC said it undertook similar hi-speed rail projects in different countries like Indonesia, Laos, Hungary, and Serbia.
With an annual turnover of over $120 billion, the CREC is the largest railway company in China, having about 300,000 staff.
In Bangladesh, the CREC has bagged the contract for the Padma Multi-Purpose Bridge Project and the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project.
On the other hand, the CCCC undertook large high-speed railway projects like Beijing-Shanghai and Beijing-Tianjin.
The company also constructed the landmark bridge over the sea from Hong Kong to Macau.
According to the BR officials, after completion of the hi-speed railway project, the travel time between Dhaka and Chittagong will be only 73 minutes, including five stoppages.
The trains will run at a top speed of 300 km per hour having the capacity to carry approximately 50,000 passengers each way daily.
Ticket price for each passenger will be around Tk 2,000, they added.
According to the transportation experts, the hi-speed rail project will be crucial to further develop the Dhaka-Chittagong economic corridor.
Besides, it will contribute to making Bangladesh a transportation hub between South Asia and South-East Asia.