CHATTOGRAM: Construction work of the much-awaited Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar rail line project is going on in full swing to launch train services by June in 2022.
The complexities over acquiring land of a reserve forest in Chunati under Lohagara upazila in Chattogram may slow down the work, sources said.Project Director Md Mofizur Rahman of Bangladesh Railway told the daily sun that although there are two components of the project, they are proceeding with the Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar portion in the first phase.
Construction of 21 bridges out of total 39 in the first phase and land filling for developing the dual-gauge railway tracks are now going on at different points of the Dohazari, Satkania and Lohagara in Chattogram and Chakaria, Ramu and Napitkhali areas of Cox’s Bazar, he said.
Besides, some 205 acres of land inside a reserve forest of the Chunati area under Lohagara upazila will be required to be acquired for developing the railway tracks, he added.
“The proposal for acquiring the forest land was sent to the concerned authority for approval,” he said, adding that delay in getting the approval may slow down pace of the work in the respective areas.
However, compensations for the required 1,367 acres of land for the first phase of the project have already been handed over to the authorities concerned, Mofizur also said.
After the implementation of the project by the deadline of June in 2022, people will be able to travel between Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar by train in two and a half hours, he added.Tender for the railway project titled ‘Construction of Single Line Dual-Gauge Railway Track from Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar Via Ramu and Ramu to Ghumdhum near Myanmar’ was floated in 2016, some six years after the project was taken up.
The project was included as fast-track one on April 4 in 2016 while a loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was signed on June 21 next year.
Around 130-kilometre railway track and other required establishments would be developed under the project involving around Tk 18,034 crore to be funded by the Government of Bangladesh and Asian Development Bank (ADB), the sources said.
Of the total cost, Bangladesh government will provide around Tk 4,919 crore and ADB around Tk 13,115 crore.
A total of 1,741 acres of land will be acquired for the entire project and CREC-Tama JV and CCECC-Max JV companies were engaged as contractors for it.
Officials of the project said at present Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar highway is the main way of connecting the beach city with other parts of the country.
But, the highway is not sufficient to facilitate journey of huge crowds of tourists and transportation of goods to and from Cox’s Bazar.
The project aims at bringing the tourist city of Cox’s Bazar under railway network, ensuring safe, comfortable and cheaper communication for tourists and local people, and easy and cheaper transportation of agricultural goods including fish, salt, raw materials of rubber and other agricultural and forest resources, they said.
Now, a total of 102-km track will be set up from Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar via Ramu in the first phase and 28km from Ramu to Ghumdhum under Naikkhongchhari upazila in Bandarban near Myanmar border in the second phase.
Along with the main line some 39 kilometre loop-line, 39 major bridges, 145 minor bridges and culverts, 96 level crossings, three highway crossings and nine new stations will be constructed in the first phase for running train towards the new destination.
On the other hand, the sources informed that the BR is also considering construction of a chord-line to avoid the Chattogram Railway Station for the Cox’s Bazar-bound passengers from the capital.
The chord-line will save some one and a-half hours of the travellers, they said.