Padma Bridge rail route being connected with Trans-Asian network...

Dhaka, Sunday   26 September 2021

Padma Bridge rail route being connected with Trans-Asian network

 Staff Correspondent

 Published: 08:30 PM, 19 February 2020   Updated: 08:32 PM, 19 February 2020



The rail route of Padma Bridge is going to add with the Trans-Asian Rail Route to connect China with Myanmar. The proposed route will connect India through the Petrapole border and will join the Benapole-Jashore-Narail-Bhanga-Mawa via Narayanganj-Dhaka-Tongi-Akhaura-Chattogram-Dohazari to Gundam border in Myanmar.  

A proposal regarding this was discussed at an intergovernmental meeting of the United Nations ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission on Asia and Pacific) held on December 10 to December 11 at Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. 

When the process will complete, the rail route will be the 4th Trans-Asian Rail Route in Bangladesh.

Earlier, three routes of Bangladesh were added to the Trans-Asian Rail route. Of these - 

  • 1st route — connected India through the Gede border and joined Darshana-Ishwardi-Jamtoil-Joydebpur-Tongi-Akhaura-Chattogram-Dohazari to Gundam border.
  • 2nd route — will connect India through the Singabad border and will join Rohanpur-Rajshahi-Abdulpur-Ishwardi-Jamtoil-Joydebpur-Tongi-Akhaura-Chattogram-Dohazari to Gundam border. 
  • 3rd route — will join Radhikapur-Biroil-Dinajpur-Parbatipur-Abdulpur-Ishwardi-Jamtoil-Joydebpur-Tongi-Akhaura-Chattogram-Dohazari to Gundam border. 

It is learned that Bangladesh started talks with the United Nations ESCAP on the Trans-Asian Rail route since 2007. However, negotiations began with the formal consent of the fourth bilateral conference of the Intergovernmental Conference held in Bangkok in 2015. This is the sixth Biennial Conference discussed with the new proposal.

Meanwhile, under the ‘Padma Bridge Railway Connection Project’, the government has taken a 168-km railway project from Dhaka to Jashore-Benapole which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on October 13, 2018. 

According to the project sources — 

  • The first part of the 3-km Dual Gauge (DG) Railway will be constructed from Kamalapur to Gandaria station in Dhaka.
  • The second part — 36.63-km Broad Gauge Railway and 4 stations — will be constructed from Gandaria to Mawa. 
  • The third part — 42.195-km Broad Gauge Railway and 5 stations — will be constructed from Mawa to Bhanga. 
  • The fourth part — 86-km Broad Gauge Railway and 10 stations — will be constructed from Faridpur’s Bhanga to Jashore. 
  • Besides, in the fifth part — 100 Broad Gauge coach will be collected where 4 AC Sleeper Coach and 16 AC Chair Coach will be collected by July 2020. 

The cost of implementation of the project has been estimated at Tk 39,246.79 crores. However, the cost was estimated Tk 34,988.86 crores and The tenure has been fixed till December 2022 during approval. But in April 2018, the project cost was extended to Tk 4,257.93 crores till June 2024.  

On a G-to-G basis, Bangladesh-China is jointly implementing the project. In this, the government of Bangladesh is carrying Tk 18,210.10 crores where China will provide Tk 21,036.69 crores. For this purpose, an agreement was made with China Exim Bank.

The first route was considered as a sub-route of the Trans-Asian Rail Route. Regarding the process and requirements of joining the main network from there, Project Manager Engineer Golam Fakhruddin Ahmed Chowdhury said: “the purpose is to open the door and increase connectivity”. 

In the meantime, we have created a connection with India. This time, we are going to connect with Myanmar. From there, it will connect with China. By this route, the country people can travel to many other countries, he also said.

Regarding the progress of the project, Engineer Golam Fakhruddin Ahmed Chowdhury said that 23 percent of the project work had already been completed.

“It is expected to complete the remaining work within the project tenure. China Railway Group Limited is implementing the project,” he added.