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Rupsha Railway Bridge

A golden chapter in Indo-Bangla ties

  • Rezaul Karim, Back From Khulna
  • 31 August, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news
A golden chapter in Indo-Bangla ties
Work on the Rupsha Railway Bridge, a 5.13-km broad-gauge single-track railway bridge taken up under India’s concessional Line of Credit, has completed. — Collected Photo

Bangladesh and India have continued to script success stories through joint efforts with the completion of Rupsha Rail Bridge as the latest addition in this golden era of relations between the two countries.

“This is an exceptional relation, a relation tied by blood. The leadership of Bangladesh and India has reiterated to stand by each other,” said a top Bangladesh government official while commenting about the ongoing India-financed development projects.

Bangladesh and India have deep relations and reiterated that they will continue to be a development partner of Bangladesh, he said, adding: “The relations began in 1971 when India stood by Bangladesh in the war against Pakistan. Indian soldiers also laid down their lives for the independence of Bangladesh.”

Speaking about the one of the Indian government funded, official said the Rupsha Railway Bridge and the Khulna-Mongla port rail line will greatly facilitate the to-and-fro transportation of goods and the enhanced connectivity.

The long-cherished Rupsha Rail Bridge is a 5.13km broad-gauge single-track railway bridge constructed by Indian EPC Contractor L&T and has connected Khulna with the Mongla port city via a rail line.

This project will also facilitate accessibility to Mongla Port and will improve market access for local businesses, including for agricultural produce of farmers in the region, they said.

Talking to a group of visiting journalists, Manager of Khulna-Mongla Rail Bridge Project Amritosh Kumar Jha on Monday said the newly constructed bridge, part of the Khulna-Mongla port rail line project, will have 100-year longevity and it is a challenging engineering feat as it required specialised base grouting technology for piling work, says its project manager.

He said the bridge has been constructed over the Rupsha tidal river and this was a challenging engineering feat. Everything has to be maintained properly to ensure longer longevity of the bridge and hoped that the bridge will bring multiple benefits.

The project manager said that working in the navigation channel for safe movement of ships was a challenging job and extended his gratitude to all for extending support to them for successful implementation of the project.

Talking to this correspondent, local people said the completion of the project will usher in a new era in the region and expecting that apparently neglected Khulna region will become a business hub, create jobs with the full operation of the Mongla Port.

They are also expecting large-scale industrialisation and huge economic activities in this region with the completion of the Indian government-funded projects, including the giant 1320MW Bangladesh-India Friendship Super Thermal Power plant, popularly known as Rampal Power Plant.

According to the high officials of the project, the railway bridge, taken up under India’s concessional Line of Credit (LOC), was completed on June 25.

A total of 856 pile foundations were constructed on viaduct sections and 72 pile foundations were constructed for the steel bridge section with an average pile length of 72m.

The bridge also has additional features such as navigation fender piles upstream and downstream of the pier, for ensuring navigation safety in the river.

The navigational clearance for the main bridge is more than 18m from Standard High-Water Level (SHWL).

The construction materials for the steel bridge superstructure were imported from India by road, sea and rivers.

The total project (Khulna-Mongla port rail line project) cost is US$ 388.92 million while the cost of constructing the Rupsha Bridge is US$ 169.26 million.

The bridge also has additional features such as navigation fender piles upstream and downstream of the pier, for ensuring navigation safety in the river.

Once completed, experts said the rail line would help increase the connectivity of Mongla Port, the second largest one of Bangladesh, and provide an alternate route for rail and maritime trade. It would also allow other countries in the region to use the port and boost sub-regional trade.

The Rupsha railway bridge and the Khulna-Mongla port rail line will greatly facilitate the to-and-fro transportation of goods and the enhanced connectivity, officials said.

The accessibility to Mongla port will also improve market access for local businesses, including for agricultural produce of farmers in the region, they said.

It is also expected to positively impact tourism to prominent spots in the southwestern part of Bangladesh, according to officials.

Upgradation of Mongla Port

The project for upgradation of Mongla port has been taken up under the third concessional LOC and includes construction of jetty no. 1 and 2 of the port at an estimated cost of US$ 530 million.

Mongla port, the second largest one in Bangladesh, has good inland connections to the business hub of Khulna.

Egis India Consulting Engineering Ltd has emerged as a "technically qualified" bidder for the PMC contract of the project, said an official. The value of the PMC contract is US$ 9.6 million.

With the development of the Khulna-Mongla port rail project, the development of this port will add to the maritime links for movement of goods not only between India and Bangladesh but also the to and fro from Bhutan and Nepal, said officials engaged in the project.

The project would greatly improve sub-regional connectivity, trade and commerce and accelerate growth of the entire region, they said.

The government of India has extended four LOCs to the government of Bangladesh worth US$ 7.862 billion.

A total of 42 projects have been undertaken under these LOCs so far, of which 14 projects have been completed and the rest are at various stages of implementation, an official told UNB.

Disbursements under these LOCs reached US$ 1155 million as of the close of the Bangladeshi financial year on 30 June 2022.