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Sunday, 26 March 2023
Dhaka-N'ganj Dual Gauge Railline Construction Project Cost increased by 100 percent, donor Japan raises objections

Dhaka-N'ganj Dual Gauge Railline Construction Project Cost increased by 100 percent, donor Japan raises objections

Special Correspondent

Narayanganj is the nearest district to the capital Dhaka. This district is also known as a commercial area. As a result, there is more traffic between Dhaka and Narayanganj. Although it takes a lot of time to reach Dhaka by bus in traffic jam but it is possible to reach the capital in much less time by train.

Railways built during the British era on this route lost popularity long ago. That is why Bangladesh Railways has taken the initiative of double line of the entire railway by constructing a new dual gauge line from Jurain to Narayanganj.

But due to extension of project again and again, design change, cost increase - these have become the rule of railways. As there is a precedent of taking eight years to implement a three-year project, this government institution has also created an example of 100% increase in expenditure.

This project of Bangladesh Railway is called 'Dhaka-Narayanganj Dual Gauge Double Line Construction Project '.

The term was three years but this project of construction of 14 km railway could not be completed even in eight years. Instead, another term extension has been proposed.

However, Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said that the implementation of the project has been delayed due to complications of land. That problem is over now and work is progressing quickly.

According to the Ministry of Railways, on January 20, 2014, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council - ECNEC approved the project 'Construction of a dual gauge railway line parallel to the existing meter gauge railway line in Dhaka-Narayanganj section'.

With the goal of implementation in a three-year period, its cost is estimated at Tk 378 crore 66 lakh . Out of this, the amount of Japanese government grant amount is Tk 249 crore 55 lakh and the remaining Tk 129 crore 11 lakh is supposed to be spent from the government's own funds.

But as some complications came to the fore while implementing the project, it was proposed to increase the cost of the project by Tk 254. 13 crore by amending the previous plan. As a result, the cost of construction of 14 -km railway line has increased by Tk 632. 79 crore.

However, Japan objected to pay this additional cost. Sources said that they have even withdrawn from financing the project. That is why it is estimated that the entire amount of this project will be spent from government funds.

Meanwhile, four years after the start of the project, the proposal to increase the cost by 67.11 percent has been mentioned in the RDPP. It said that under the project, a dual gauge line is being constructed parallel to the existing meter gauge railway line.

The new dual gauge line is much taller than the existing line. It will make the existing railway line uneven. Complexity will increase at stations, bridges, platforms and level crossings.

As a result, complications will arise in train movement. In this situation, the survey of the project is also questioned. Because, a project original document survey.

The railway officials themselves said that there was a mistake in the plan when the project was taken up. Railways is paying for the mistake for the last eight years. Some say that if the dual gauge double line had been planned in the beginning, there would not have been a mountain of costs, and Japan would not have withdrawn from the financing.

According to sources, the existing meter gauge railway line is also being converted to dual gauge through a new package in this project. In this case, the existing line from Kamalapur to Jurain is being dual gauged under the Padma Rail Link Project.

In the remaining part, dual gauge double line is being constructed from Jurain to Narayanganj Chazhara.

The project also included construction of three footover bridges, construction of a two-storied building and barracks for railway security forces, construction of a building and barracks for railway police and construction of five gang huts between Gandaria and Chashara.

The project did not include renovation or maintenance of the existing dilapidated railway line. which was added later. Due to these reasons, the project cost has increased, officials said.

The problem does not end here. With this, new complications arise in land acquisition. As the initial plan did not include the issue of land acquisition, it became difficult to proceed with the work.

As two kilometers of the 14 km long railway line belongs to the Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC), there was a problem with its acquisition.

Later, it was decided to upgrade the two-kilometer road to a double line. Along with this, efforts to solve the complexities of land in Nashik also continued.

This slows down the project. As a result, at the end of eight years, the progress of the project is now 80 percent. Meanwhile, the latest extended scheme is also nearing its end. That is why it has been proposed to extend the duration of the project one more time as well as increase the cost. It has been found that if the duration and money of the project are extended again, the cost will increase by one hundred and fifty times.

In this context, Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan told the media "Dhaka-Narayanganj Railway Line Construction Project, which had the complexity of the land has been resolved. As NCC has agreed to give 12 percent of the land, there is no obstacle to the implementation of this project.

Experts feel that the project has shown extreme indifference, waste of money and inefficiency on the part of railway officials. In this context, the communication expert, Professor of Civil Engineering Department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. Shamsul Haque told media , "All over the world, the survey is called the project implementation document. The project is implemented step by step along with the design based on the field survey.

But in Bangladesh it is the opposite. Many projects are jeopardized in implementation due to lack of survey fieldwork. The big problem is that the same incidents are happening again and again because those responsible are not held accountable. State money is wasted.

It should be mentioned that the once important Dhaka-Narayanganj railway was built by Eastern Bengal in 1885 during the then British government.

It is learnt that the importance of this railway began to decrease since 1980 due to the decrease in the speed of the railway. After 1990, this route was included in the dangerous list of railways.

Even before Covid-19, 28 passenger trains used to run through this dilapidated road that has reached the end of its lifespan. Running at a speed of 5 to 15 km/h, the train faced major problems with minor errors and because of this people have also lost interest in this route.

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