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The Financial Express

JS rail body seeks to go abroad to see development

| Updated: May 14, 2022 10:02:02


JS rail body seeks to go abroad to see development

Members of the parliamentary standing committee on railways ministry intend to visit different countries to see railway-sector development in order to play their roles as a watchdog.

The proposal for the post-Eid visit to Korea, China or Japan was placed for better understanding of the sectoral growth abroad, says a committee member on condition of anonymity.

"…it's often not possible for us to play a due role [regarding the Bangladesh Railway's performance] for lack of understanding," he told the FE after a committee meeting on Tuesday.

The 20th meeting of the panel was held at Sangsad Bhaban with AMB Fazle Karim in the chair.

Sources say the visit was included in the meeting's agenda as the members expressed their willingness to visit to Korea, China or Japan after Eid-ul-Fitr.

However, officials concerned informed the members of rail ministry's inability at this moment due to travel restrictions in these countries.

The committee also reviewed poor progress in billion-dollar projects to set up high-speed train, Dhaka circular train and Dhirarshram ICD despite completion of feasibility studies.

Meeting sources said committee members queried the sources of income and expenditure, particularly earnings from private train operators and land use.

About high-speed train, the committee was informed of the prime minister's directive to further review the cool $11-billion proposal as it involves huge funds.

The BR and the ministry updated the development of the projects, including the circular train, which is now under feasibility study by the investors.

They were selected by Korea Overseas Infrastructure and Urban Development Corporation under the government-to-government public-private partnership (PPP) model.

The circular train's feasibility study was completed in June 2021 proposing an 81-kilometre route around.

The meeting was informed that process is underway to select investors, including development partners, to build the planned Dhirarshram depot.

After Japan's refusal to invest in the project, the PPP Authority and the BR turned to the Asian Development Bank for funding the construction and the Dubai-based DP World for operating the facility.

The meeting also queried the source of import of fuels and their use, progress in the BR-led PPP schemes and multiple rail link projects.

Committee members, including railways minister Nurul Islam Sujon, Asaduzzaman Nur, Mohammad Saifuzzaman, HM Ibrahim, Gazi Mohammad Shahnewaj and Nadira Yasmin Joly, attended the meeting.

Rail secretary and BR director general were also present.

The members laid emphasis on the recovery of railway land from encroachers and called for steps to modernise various stations.

They also sought detailed annual balance sheets of 40 trains operated privately in the next meeting.

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