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PC revives Dhaka-Ctg electric traction project after three years

Munima Sultana | Published: June 29, 2019 10:50:25 | Updated: July 01, 2019 11:37:51


A project to set up overhead electric traction in the Dhaka-Chattogram corridor has been revived after it remained shelved for over three years.

Sources said the Planning Commission (PC) has finally fixed the date of a project evaluation committee (PEC) meeting on the project on July 8 to discuss it.

They said the Bangladesh Railway (BR) placed the Tk 80-million project to conduct feasibility study on setting up the electric traction.

But, the technical project has been shelved since its first PEC meeting was held on January 1, 2016.

"We modified the project proposal as per the guidelines of the first PEC meeting. But its next meeting was never convened," said an official, preferring not to be named.

The immediate-past planning minister was unwilling to invest in the electric traction project, for which no PEC meeting was held after the first meeting, he added.

The BR prepared the feasibility study project to implement its decision of setting up the electric traction from Dhaka to Chattogram through Narayanganj.

The traction would create scopes for introducing high-speed trains. It would also help reduce train operation cost, and increase the state-owned train operator's capacity of carrying both passenger and freight.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also directed the BR to implement first phase of the traction conversion from Gazipur to Narayanganj without delay, as it would help facilitate transportation of goods from the river-port.

The BR selected the corridor, as 30 per cent of the country's total population live in Dhaka, Narayanganj and Chattogram, which are the main centres of industry, trade and business of Bangladesh.

It is claimed that per kilometre power cost of electric locomotive is about 35 per cent lower than that of diesel locomotive.

In 2009, the BR showed interest to set up the electric train following conversion to electric traction by most of the neighbouring countries. But, it was not given importance by the PC.

The electric traction project was also included in the Annual Development Programme (ADP) in fiscal year 2016-17, said officials.

An official said they have decided to revive the project after change of the minister concerned.

It is also done from the realisation that the country has no other option but conversion of the existing lines to electric traction, as most of the countries are now using it, he added.

smunima@yahoo.com

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