Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar Direct Broad Gauge Rail
Feasibility study to be complete by June 2022
CHATTOGRAM Sept 10: A feasibility study is now underway to connect the capital Dhaka directly with the tourism city Cox's Bazar with double broad gauge track.
According to the extended schedule, the survey is expected to be complete by June 2022, Md Abidur Rahman, Director of the Technical Assistance for Survey Project, told the Daily Observer.
A French consulting firm has been carrying out the feasibility study for the implementation of Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox's Bazar railway project at a cost of Tk 2.12 billion, with financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Abidur Rahman said.
The project, which started in 2015, was scheduled to be completed during the current year.
But due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a proposal has been sent to the Planning Commission to extend the schedule at least by one year.
With the approval, the scheduled time has now been extended to June 2022.
Abidur Rahman said that the project cost would be estimated at around
Tk 77,000 crore to convert the whole Tongi (Dhaka)-Dohazari (Chattogram) link into double broad gauge track to join the Dohazari-Cox's Bazar portion.
When completed, the distance from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar will be 470 km by train.
However, the new project will have a component of Faujdarhat-Sholashahar chord line (a straight rail route across outer parts of an urban centre) to bypass the Chattogram Railway Station, which will save at least one hour of journey time.
Sources said that the implementation of the project would make it easier for Bangladesh to be connected with China, Pakistan, India and Myanmar through the Trans-Asian Railway connectivity.
Bangladesh Railway will implement it in eight components. Twelve railway bridges will also be constructed along the line.
The major components of the project include; Tongi-Akhaura,
Laksham-Pahartali and Chattogram-Dohazari.
Railway bridges will be constructed over Tongi Khal, Balu,
Shitalaksha, Arial Kha, Old Brahmaputra, Meghna, Chhoto Feni, Muhuri,
Feni, Karnafuli, Matamuhuri and Old Matamuhuri rivers.
Railway sources said, in 1980, the government completed a feasibility study for the establishment of the Dhaka-Cumilla chord line. But this plan was dropped in the 90's.
The initiative to develop the railway line from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar via Chattogram has been taken on the current rail route at a huge cost.
However, experts say if a chord line was constructed from Dhaka via Narayanganj-Cumilla, the distance of the railway line would be 94 km shorter.
They say it would take two hours less time to transport passengers and goods from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar and also save a huge amount of money including fuel cost.
Under the initiative, rail tracks will be laid at the proposed power plants at Moheshkhali and Matarbari. It will also facilitate the movement of cars and wagons and have fuel supply and rolling stock depots as well as several offices for railway services.