The much-expected rail track installation work on Padma multi-purpose bridge started on Saturday with the hope to complete the work by this December.
Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujon formally inaugurated the work at the 6.15km long mega bridge’s Jajira point at around 12 pm.
Later on July 17, the Bridges Division handed over a formal letter to the Padma Rail Link project officials, allowing it to lay railway track on the bridge.
He also inaugurated rail line laying work at Bhanga railway junction in Faridpur around 2 pm. Chief Whip of the National Parliament Nur-e-Alam Chowdhury also accompanied the railway minister.
The railway minister and other guests travelled to the 42nd pier of the bridge on a railway track car and then inaugurated the work by cutting a cake and releasing balloons.
“The work could not be started because of lack of coordination. Finally, the much-expected work has started and it will end by December this year,” the railway minister said.
He also said that there is also a plan to inaugurate the Dhaka-Bhanga portion of Padma Rail Link project by June next year.
So far, the Dhaka-Mawa segment advanced 66 percent, the Mawa-Bhanga portion 83 and the Bhanga-Jashore portion 52 percent, the minister told reporters.
On the first day of the work, a stone-less railway track was laid in a 50-metre area. The track will be laid on a total of 13.27lm length of the bridge, including viaducts.
The work of the rail line on the bridge started in 2018, but it was stopped to allow the construction of the roadway on the bridge.
Overall, the 169km rail line from Dhaka to Jashore has so far seen 61 percent progress. Once complete, it will help cut Dhaka-Khulna distance by more than 200km. the total project work is scheduled to be complete by 2024.
In reply to a question, Nurul Islam Sujon said at present the government has no plan to raise train fares despite the hike in diesel price. He also said there is no plan to extend the project deadline as well.
The Chief Whip said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is carrying forward her father Bangabandhu’s unfinished work.
“We did not even dream of rail connectivity through the Padma bridge. But it has been possible for the sincerity of Sheikh Hasina,” he remarked.
The rail link project is being implemented spending Tk 392.47 billion. China Railway Group Ltd (CREC), the parent company of China Major Bridge Engineering Company Ltd, which constructed the Padma bridge, is constructing the railway.