The government is going to start the construction work of the Padma rail link project in a month and 23 kilometres of the 215 km railway tracks — from Dhaka to Jessore — would be elevated.
Once the project is over, it will take just four hours to go to Khulna from the capital, Bangladesh Railway Minister Mujibul Haque said at a press conference yesterday.
The implementation of the project, expected in four years, would lead to the economic development of the country and the GDP would increase by 1 percent, he said.
Amjad Hossain, Director General of Bangladesh Railways (BR), said the travel time between Dhaka and Kolkata would also come down significantly.
“The distance between Benapole [in Jessore] and Kolkata is around 70 kilometres. Once the project is implemented, it would not take more than three to four hours to reach Kolkata from Dhaka.”
The project would bring four districts — Munshiganj, Shariatpur, Madaripur and Narail — under the coverage of railway network, says a press release from the BR.
Currently, it takes more than nine hours to make the distance of about 412 kilometres from Dhaka to Khulna. The minister said once the project is over, the distance would be reduced to 213 kilometres.
The railways ministry organised the press conference at the Rail Bhaban after the Economic Relations Division (ERD) signed a $2.67 billion loan agreement for the project with China Exim Bank at Beijing on April 27. China Railway Group Limited is the contractor firm.
Amjad said the project would be the biggest and “most complex” projects of BR.
The 23km elevated tracks would begin in Gandaria and go over the Buriganga, Dhaleswari-1 and Dhaleswari-2 rivers. There would be an elevated railway station in Keraniganj on the outskirts of the capital.
As many as 66 long bridges and 244 small bridges would also be built. The length of the bridges would be seven to eight kilometres.
The railways minister said the tracks from Mawa in Munshiganj to Bhanga in Faridpur would be ready for use the day vehicles would be plying the Padma Bridge. He did not give any specific deadline.
Padma Bridge Project is scheduled to end by December but project officials say vehicles would not be able to use the bridge before the second half of next year.
DG Amjad said the rail link project would establish direct communication between Dhaka and Mongla Port. On the other hand, the government has a plan to introduce a trans-national rail line from Dhaka to Kolkata through Jessore, Benapole and India’s Petrapole in future.