The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Monday approved a total of 13 projects worth Tk 13,288.
The projects include construction of a double line railway track on Khulna-Darshana section under the Indian 2nd Line of Credit in a bid to enhance the capacity of Bangladesh Railway on Dhaka-Khulna and Khulna-Chilahati routes.
The approval was given at the 23rd ECNEC meeting of the current fiscal year held at the NEC conference room in the capital's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar with ECNEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing the reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said a total of 13 projects were approved today involving a total estimated cost of Taka 13,288 crore.
He said a total of 15 projects were placed before the ECNEC meeting. But, later two projects were sent back for recast.
The planning minister said, "Bangladesh Railway under the Railways Ministry will implement the project titled 'Construction of double line railway track on Khulna-Darshana junction section' at an estimated cost of Taka 3,506.76 crore. The project will be implemented by December 2022."
He said of the total project cost, Taka 2,689.93 crore will come as project assistance from India under its 2nd Line of Credit while the rest Taka 816.83 crore from the state coffer.
The minister said once the project is implemented, it would address the growing demand of national, regional and international railway traffic and thus boost connectivity between Bangladesh and India. "Besides, this double line track will get special importance once the Padma Bridge is constructed," he added.
According to the draft Development Project Proposal (DPP), the existing Khulna-Darshana section on Dhaka-Khulna corridor is a single BG line section and it is directly linked with the Khulna-Dhaka, Khulna-Chilahati and Khulna-Rajshahi routes.
Under the project, the Khulna-Darshana section will be upgraded to double line through the erection of some 126.25 kilometer BG railway track and thus address the growing demand of commuters and goods transportation.
Besides, the proposed double line railway track will also facilitate transportation of fuel to the proposed fuel-based power plants in Harian, Bheramara, Santahar, Bangabandhu Bridge west station, Amanura, Faridpur, Thakurgaon and Rangpur.
Once the double line track is set up, it would facilitate rail communication with the Mongla port as already a project is underway to set up a 53-kilometer railway track up to Mongla from Khulna.
As a result, importers from Nepal and Bhutan would also be able to import goods from Mongla port through the improved rail communication network.
The main project operations include some 126.25 kilometer main track works, some 14.40 kilometer loop line, some 317 meter bridge works, signaling works, electrical works and some 110 acres of land acquisition.
The project area covers Khan Jahan Ali area and Fultala upazilas under Khulna district, Abhaynagar and Jashore sadar upazilas under Jashore district, Kaliganj and Kotchandpur upazilas under Jhenidah district and Jibonnagar and Damurhuda upazilas under Chuadanga district.