Government dithers as BR asks for two more years to complete railway linking Ghundum
FHM HUMAYAN KABIR |
April 16, 2022 08:23:29
April 18, 2022 8:51:29 PM
Senior government officials have called for the megaproject on the Bazar-Ramu-Ghundum Dohazari-Cox road to be completed faster now that Bangladesh Railway is seeking two more years to link the country’s eastern regional corridor, officials said.
The prime minister in a recent communication asked the ministry to complete it by June next year and inaugurate the much-awaited Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar railway for the public, a ministry official said. of Railways (MoR).
Meanwhile, the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) has also marked a condition to extend the priority project until June 2023.
Currently, the deadline for the execution of the Tk 180.34 billion project is June 2022, which is intended to be passed without reaching the finish point.
The public rail operator recently requested a two-year extension to June 2024 from the Planning Commission (PC) without extending the cost of the project.
The PC has asked IMED to consider BR’s proposal for a deadline extension before giving the go-ahead, as the top brass want it in place as soon as possible now.
“We have reviewed the proposed extension of the long-awaited Dohazari-Cox’sbazar-Ghundum railway project. We want to ensure that the double-track railway is completed by June 2023,” a senior IMED official said. .
He mentions that the project office has already confirmed to them (IMED) that they will complete the railway line by June next year and that another year will be considered as a liability period in case of default. (DLP).
According to an official estimate, the BR has completed 67 percent of the physical works on the double-track railway line, intended to link the tourist town of Cox’sbazar with the port city of Chittagong.
Meanwhile, the government has extended the project implementation deadline twice.
The railway authorities started the track installation work in fiscal year 2014-2015. The government approved the project in 2010.
“Coronavirus and some other factors have affected our project work, so we need at least another year to complete the project,” a senior BR official said.
This accelerated mega-project is one of the priority programs as it would facilitate easy access to the tourist city for local and foreign tourists and connect Myanmar as a regional corridor.
Initially, the project was delayed for almost five years due to the complexity of funding.
The government had approved the project in 2010 for implementation by December 2013. Since BR did not start work within the preliminary deadline in December 2013, the government extended the deadline to June 2016 without increasing the cost.
Following the failure a second time, the government extended the deadline to June 2022, increasing the cost almost 10 times to Tk 180.34 billion, including AfDB funding of Tk 116.55 billion .
The BR official says work on the project is progressing at a faster pace and the track will likely be open to passengers within a year.
“But we want another year as DLP for the contractor to take care of the operations of the newly constructed tracks,” he says.