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72-km Akhaura-Laksam double rail line project to miss deadline

Published : Tuesday, 10 September, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 314
Nurul Amin

CHATTOGRAM, Sept 9: Doubling of the 320- km long Dhaka-Chattogram railway lines, one of the most significant rail lines of the country, will not be implemented in 2020.
Because, the completion of the 72-km Akhaura-Laksam double rail line will not be completed on time.
The construction works of the 72-km Akhaura-Laksam double rail line project on Dhaka- Chattogram route was scheduled to be completed in December 2020 next.
Talking to the Daily Observer, Muhammad Arifuzzaaman, Project Director said that 60 per cent works of the project has, so far, been completed.
He opined that the completion of the project should be extended more.
He said that the exact time will be finalized after assessment.
"Assessment is going on,' Arif said.
But the sources in the Railway Ministry estimated that the time should be extended for one year for completion of the project.
Earlier, it was scheduled to be completed by December this year. But, time schedule had been extended to December 2020. Presently, time schedule should be extended further one year for completion of the project.
Meanwhile, the construction works of the project began in November in 2016.
Railway Ministry has signed the agreement with a joint venture company of China Railway group, Toma Construction and Max Infrastructure (CTM) for this project.
Besides, the government signed a deal with a consortium of five companies for the consultancy services of the project. The five companies include Dohwa Engineering Co Ltd (Korea), Korea Rail Network Authority, Oriental Consultants Global Ltd (Japan), Balaji Railroad Systems Ltd (India) and Development Design Consultants Ltd (Bangladesh).
Under the agreement, everything of the project-from design to completion of the construction process-will be supervised by the consortium.
A total of 46 bridges and culverts, including 13 big bridges, and 11 B-class rail stations along with computerised signaling system will be constructed on the 72 kms section.
The 72-km long Laksham to Akhaura rail lines have been doubled with the financial assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and European Investment Bank (EIB).  The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and European Investment Bank (EIB) have agreed to finance the project. The loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and European Investment Bank (EIB) has already been signed.
The sources said, ADB will provide 505 million US dollar and EIB will provide 175 million US dollar for the project.  Meanwhile, during the past Pakistan regime, 117- km long rail lines have been doubled that include, Kamalapur to Tongi and Chittagong to Chinki Astana.
The rest 203- km long rail tracks in this line remained single for a long time.
The present Awami League government in their previous tenure took three projects to double the rail tracks in this significant rail route.
With the implementation of the project, the speed of train on the route would be 120 kilometres per hour.
The main objective of this 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 increasing the competitiveness of Bangladesh for investment.  Bangladesh Railway has introduced the transportation of containers from Chittagong Port to Kamalapur Inland Container depot since 15 years back.
A large numbers of passengers also travel through this rail route. The lion's share of income comes from this route.

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