ADB to invest Tk 27.40b for revival of ailing BR

Dhaka,  Tue,  26 September 2017
Published : 24 Aug 2017, 01:13:48

ADB to invest Tk 27.40b for revival of ailing BR

Locomotives, wagons in purchase package
FHM Humayan Kabir

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will invest a big sum of money to give a new lease of life to Bangladesh Railway through adding more locomotives, wagons and other equipment.

Officials said Tuesday the Manila-based lender is expected to provide Tk 27.40 billion for upgrading the struggling rail operator to meet a surging demand for the popular mode of mass transport.

Under a Tk 36.46 billion umbrella project titled 'Upgrading Bangladesh Railway's rolling stock operation', the ADB will provide the funds to the state-owned rail-service provider.

The BR reels from a shortage of locomotives (engines), vans and wagons, which makes it lag far behind the requirement for smart operation and passenger services across the country.

The government over the last six to seven years has invested huge funds in improving its railway services, which is still a far cry, the sources said.

A senior BR official said the ADB has come forward with its larger support which is expected to improve the train services in Bangladesh within a couple of years.

"This project is a part of the ADB support. The development partner is also helping us to set up double-track line between Dhaka and Chittagong and a fresh line on Dohazari-Cox's Bazar-Ghundum route, procure carriages and locomotives, and improve the railway infrastructures," he added.

"We have recently sent the Tk 36.46-billion-cost project proposal to the Planning Commission (PC) for getting approval," the BR official said.

He said they would procure 40 broad-gauge (BG) diesel-electric locomotives, 75 metre-gauge (MG) and 50 BG luggage vans, 400 MG and 300 BG bogie covered wagons, and 180 MG and 120 BG bogie open wagons for improving the shabby fleet of the BR.

Besides, the diesel-electric-locomotive workshop, DEMU workshop and central locomotive workshop will be upgraded under the ADB-supported project.

The railway official said the project is scheduled to be completed by June 2021.

When asked, Assistant Chief of the PC Mizanur Rahman Mian said they were scrutinising the BR's project before giving the seal of approval.

The Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) will sit in the second week of September for examining the pros and cons of the scheme, he added.

If the PEC recommended approval for the project, they would place it before the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) for giving the go finally.
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