Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar rail-track project makes little progress

Anaet Shawon

6 August, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The much-hyped Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar via Ramu duel gauge single railway track project goes on at a snail’s pace, with only 40 percent of the project work completed in the last 10 years.

Delay in land acquisition and providing compensation to victims, permission of felling trees and setting up lines in forest ‘de reserved’ areas and the ongoing wave of coronavirus pandemic are the main reasons that thwart the overall progress of the project. 

Assuming office, the Awami League-led government took the initiative in 2010 to construct the 130-kilometre rail link between Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar via Ramu and Ramu and Gundum.

The project is supposed to be completed by 2022 but it witnessed only a 40-percent progress.

Out of 130-kilometre rail link, the government has been constructing some 101km railway track between Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar via Ramu at a cost of Tk180.34 billion.

Of the amount, the Asian Development Bank will provide Tk131.15 billon as loan.

Project Director Mofizur Rahman told daily sun that the construction work was totally stopped for over one month due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“As of now, over 40 percent physical work has been completed while economic progress is nearly 27 percent,” he said.

“In the first phase, 101-kilomtre construction work of Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar via Ramu has been going on while the second phase’s construction work of Ramu to Gundum will be implemented after getting fund,” he added.

Sources said they had a plan to complete half of the physical work of the project before June 2020 but they had been running behind the deadline due to shortage of workers.

The government brought the project under the fast-track project list in 2016 putting importance on the much-hyped rail link.

Under the fast-track project, the rail-link project witnessed nearly 27 percent economic progress even after over a one-month break from construction from March 26 to mid May on security ground.

The government has been implementing the project for bringing the country’s popular tourist spot under railway network and connecting to Trans-Asian Railway link.

Besides, the project has been being implemented to boost transportation of fish, salt, raw materials of rubber, and forest and agriculture products across the country.

According to railway official, construction work of some 36 of 39 bridges is under way while that of 38 culverts have been completed and 45 are going on out of 147 culverts.

The building of embankment is going on the 90km area of the project while ballast has been collected from Malaysia and India, officials said.

Some 2,394 persons were brought under resettlement work while 33,500 sleepers have been procured.

Land acquisition and providing compensation are going on in full swing. Some 1367.3664 acres of land have been acquired.

Sources also said compensation for land acquisition has been given -- 91 percent in Chandanaish, 80 percent in Satkania, 87 percent in Lohagara, 75 percent in Cox’s Bazart Sadar, 73 percent in Ramu and 59 percent in Chakaria.

The project has been divided into two lots. The first lot is located from Dohazari to Chakaria and the second lot from Chakaria to Ramu and Cox's Bazar.