The main construction work of the fast-track Padma Bridge project is going to start soon at own expenses of the government.
But the railway track is now not included in it due to fund constraints. The main bridge will be constructed at a cost of Tk12,133 crore.
To build railway lines two separate projects are being taken-one from the capital’s Kamalapur railway station to Mawa and the other from Mawa to Bhanga via Padma and Faridpur’s Zazira. For this the cost has been estimated at Tk 13,200 crore.
The Railway Department has already written to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for financial assistance.
Road Transports and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader told The Daily Observer, “Construction of Padma Bridge will start soon. By now the first shipment of construction materials and equipment from China has reached Chittagong Port. The second shipment of equipment reached on the September 15.
On the other hand, Contractor of the Padma Bridge construction China Major Bridge has started bringing materials.
To operate railway service over Padma Bridge 82.32 -kilometer railway line from Dhaka to Bhanga needs to be built. In it there will be a 44.32- kilometer line from Dhaka to Mawa, 6.15- kilometer on the Padma Bridge and 31.85- kilometer from the bridge to Bhanga.
If built, trains will be able to run at a speed of 120 kilometers from Dhaka to Bhanga in Faridpur.
For construction of Padma Bridge soil test will be done in the next two months.
The railway communication will benefit one-fourth of the population of South-Western region and boost overall socio-economic development of the country. Side by side with this, this will greatly increase trade and commerce and cooperation with neighboring countries through integration with the regional and international railway lines. When the two projects will be implemented railway communication will be established among Dhaka, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Shariatpur, Madaripur and Faridpur’s Bhanga.
In addition to two existing railway stations in six districts of greater Dhaka, six more railway stations will be set up at Keraniganj, Nimtala, Srinagar, Mawa, Jajira and Shibchar.
It will be necessary to acquire 365.10 hectares of land to build the railway line. Of this 273 hectares are of private owners and 92 hectares are of the Roads and Highways Department (RHD). Under the project four big railway bridges over the Buriganga and Shitalakhya rivers and 56 small railway bridges will have to be built. There will be five railway crossings, forty underpasses and three flyovers.
Director General of Bangladesh Railway Tofazzal Hossain said, “Installation of railway on the Padma Bridge is a pledge of the present government. Highest importance is being given on its implementation. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has issued directives to implement the two projects. Work is in progress in this respect.”
He said, “By now Canarail company has submitted feasibility assessment report. On the basis of this, a development project proposal (DPP) will be formulated.”
Tofazzal Hossain said, “ADB assistance has been requested for installation of railway on the Padma Bridge. In this respect finance has been asked for setting aside Dohazari, Cox’s Bazar and Gundhum project if necessary. ADB finances those projects for which it carries feasibility assessment.”
This railway line will be constructed in about 87 Mouzas of Dhaka City Corporation, Sirajdikhan, Srinagar, Lauhajang, Jazira, Shibchar and Bhanga Upazila. It will be necessary to remove a large number of houses. Besides, for constructing a number of small and big bridges there may be some environmental problems. The ADB and governmental guidelines will be followed to face harmful influence of the project and rehabilitation process.
If quick finance is available it will be possible to make the railway line from Bhanga to Jazira operational by 2020, but it may take 2022 to make the railway line from the capital to Padma Bridge.
The then caretaker government approved a project on August 20 of 2007. But after assuming power the Grand Alliance government decided to add rail track to the project. On January 11 of 2011, the project proposal was approved. Accordingly, a two-storey road and railway construction project was finalized.