Tuesday, 27 September, 2022

Dhaka-Jashore rail link

Plan timely project completion

Though our country has made tremendous progress in the last few years, it is also true that urban, rural-based and region-based economic disparity still remains there, with the potentials of certain regions yet to be fully utilised. Among many other initiatives taken to reduce regional economic disparity, the greatest one is the Padma Bridge which is expected to transform the regional economy to a great extent, connecting 21 south-western districts with the rest of the country including the capital. Though road communication has already been established through the bridge, the country is now moving forward to establish the rail link with that region in the quickest possible time.

That the much-expected rail track installation work on the Padma Multi-purpose Bridge started on Saturday with the hope for completion of the work by this December, is a good piece of news for the people, given that the rail link project will improve accessibility between Dhaka and the central and south-western regions. With the inauguration of laying rail track on the bridge, possibility has been created for starting the Dhaka-Bhanga portion of Padma Rail Link project by June next year. The alternate route provided by the project will be 212km shorter than the existing Dhaka-Jashore-Khulna railway line. The rail link will also create an opportunity to build a second line to connect Barishal and the Payra Deep Sea Port.

However, although the progress of the Dhaka-Mawa and Mawa-Bhanga parts stands at 66% and 85% respectively, progress is only 52% in Bhanga-Jashore part, which is allegedly going on at a snail’s pace. If it is the case, it will take a few more years than the extended deadline of 2024 to tap the full potential of the rail link over that zone. A report hit newspapers a couple of weeks ago that the residents of Shariatpur district are not getting the full benefits of the Padma Bridge as the road connecting Jazira and Shariatpur Sadar Uapazila was not renovated in time and so local people have to wait for two more years to get a highway suitable to handle the pressure of vehicle. We expect that the authorities will put all efforts to avoid such a situation in the case of the rail link to be extended beyond Bhanga point.