DHAKA: Bangladesh will build a 126-kilometer (76-mile) double-lane railway in its southwest region to facilitate Bangladesh-India trade and passenger transportation, thanks to a second line of credit from India.
Bangladesh's Executive Committee of the National Economic Council, headed by the Prime Minister, recently gave consent to the nearly $500 million project, which the Government of Bangladesh will also co-finance.
The double-lane railway will facilitate transit between India’s Gede railway station and Bangladesh’s Khulna district, with the latter ultimately being connected to the Mongla seaport.
Rail — a substantial cost, time savings
For shippers, there would be a roughly 10 percent reduction in transport costs compared with truck transport. The time saving would be very large: about a day for the rail transport, compared with more than three weeks by truck owing to road traffic congestion and other delays.
“The double line will help increase train trips and be faster. With a single line, currently trains need to wait at crossings, which increase the journey time,” Assistant Director (Interchange Traffic) of Bangladesh Railway Kalikanta Ghosh told.
Ghosh said currently Bangladesh’s main rail connection to India is through Darshana railway station in Chuadanga district. Every day, two to three trains with passengers and cargo travel to India through Darshana railway station. He said Bangladesh's railway carried about 72,000 TEU in 2017.
“Once the rail track is doubled, the frequency will also rise, since both India and Nepal want to use Chittagong and Mongla Ports,” Ghosh noted.
India is interested in using the two Bangladeshi seaports for goods transport to its remote, seven-sister States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura.