CHITTAGONG, Sep 5: The single-track 72-kilometre Laksham-Akhaura rail line will be turned into a double track one with the financial assistance of Asian Development Bank (ADB) and European Investment Bank (EIB) with the construction work set to begin early next year.
A total of four tenders have already been submitted in this connection in July last while the tender evaluation committee remains busy examining the tenders for short-listing, sources in the Bangladesh Railway (BR) here said, adding that the short-listing was expected to complete within next three months.
They also said that the project's construction work was likely to begin in February next year.
As the ADB and EIB have agreed to finance the project, a loan agreement with the two lending agencies is expected to be inked for the project within January next.
According to the BR sources, construction work of the 72km double rail line will be completed within next 48 months (four years).
They said ADB will provide 505 million US dollars while EIB will provide 175 million US dollars for the project.
With implementation of the project, train speed on the route will be 120 kilometres per hour.
Main objective of the project is to increase the line capacity of railway for efficient train operation and to meet fast growing freight and intercity passenger traffic.
The improvement will also result in low operating costs for users and increase in the country's competitiveness for investment.
BR already introduced transportation of containers from Chittagong Port to Kamalapur Inland Container Depot (ICD) 15 years back. A large number of passengers also travel through the rail route.
Although the lion's share of railway income is believed to come from this route, it remained neglected for quite a long time.
If Dhaka-Chittagong rail line is turned double, it will certainly increase the country's GDP remarkably. The Dhaka-bound containers can also be transported easily creating manifold opportunities in overall trade and commerce.
With completion of the Laksham-Akhaura double track, the 320km Dhaka-Chittagong railway line, one of the most significant rail lines in the country, will be doubled.
During the erstwhile Pakistan regime, 117km rail line was doubled including the Kamalapur-Tongi and Chittagong-Chinki Astana ones.
The remaining 203km rail track in this important rail line remained single track for long.