Bangladesh Railway (BR) has taken a move to seek around Tk 37 billion in assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for developing its rolling stocks and improving maintenance capacity of workshops, aimed at ensuring smooth operation of train services.
The move was taken as the development bank hinted they would like to invest, from its next loan package, more in rolling stocks and maintenance facility improvement than purchase of locomotives and coaches.
Officials said some seven potential projects have been selected for the loan after holding consultations with an ADB mission during their visit to Bangladesh on November 15-16.
BR sources said projects like construction of new locomotive workshop in Dhaka, modernisation of Parbatipur central locomotive workshop and construction of repair and maintenance workshop for DEMU (diesel electric multiple unit) were taken into consideration.
They said as the BR has already made significant progress in purchasing both metre and broad gauge locomotives and coaches, including DEMU, the new projects under plan would be necessary to develop the maintenance capacity of the railway workshops to manage the upcoming workload.
However, sources said, the ADB mission has agreed to invest in procuring more broad gauge locomotives, luggage vans and bogie covered vans and wagons.
"We expect consulting services for these projects to start under the ADB's next loan package," said an official, preferring not to be named. There might be some addition or omission in the projects or components during the next meeting of ADB mission.
The bank has been providing technical and financial support to the BR under its SASEC Railway Connectivity Investment programme that also supports the railway's master plan revision.
It earlier assured Bangladesh of investing billions of dollar in railway network expansion, including Dohazahi-Cox's Bazar railway to establish regional trans-Asian railway corridor.
Sources said the ADB mission emphasised on the readiness of the seven new projects enlisted in the master plan and requested the BR to complete preliminary development project proposals before their next mission to Bangladesh likely in January next.
The mission will be here to prepare the loan proposals on the projects.
According to officials, procurement of 25 BG locomotive project is estimated to cost Tk 10.77 billion while construction of Dhaka new locomotive workshop Tk 11.55 billion, modernisation of Parbatipur Central Locomotive Workshop Tk 7.7 billion, construction of repair and maintenance workshop for DEMU Tk 3.08 billion, procurement of 75 MG and 40 BG luggage vans Tk 6.65 billion, procurement of BG and MG bogie covered vans and BKC wagons Tk 4.92 billion and construction of railway line from Bogra to Monsur Ali Station Tk 6.6 billion.
Officials said under these projects, technical support including feasibility study, preparing detailed designs, cost estimation and tender documents are likely to be done.