Jamuna rail bridge to get addl amount of Tk 7,046.88 cr

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Dhaka, Mar 03: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council  (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved eight projects involving Tk 10,468.24 crore, including an increased amount of Tk 7,046.88 crore  for constructing a rail bridge over the Jamuna River.The approval came from the weekly Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

Planning Minister MA Mannan briefed reporters after the meeting.

He said a total of eight projects were approved today involving an overall estimated cost of Tk 10,468.24 crore. Of the approved eight projects, six are new while two are revised ones.

Of the total outlay, an amount of Tk 5,964.74 crore will come from the state coffer while  Tk 78.63 crore from the relevant organisation’s own fund and the rest of Tk 4,424.87 crore from project assistance.

The Planning Minister said Bangladesh Railway under the Ministry of Railways will implement the revised project titled ‘Bangabandhu Railway Bridge project’ over the Jamuna River by December 2025 with an additional cost of Tk 7,046.88 crore. This is the first revision of this project.

With the revision, the total cost of the project reached Tk 16,780.95 crore. Of the amount, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide Tk 12,149.19 crore.

Mannan said the project cost of the railway bridge has been increased following a study conducted by JICA to strengthen this dedicated bridge further.

He said this railway bridge project is a “star” project of the government and this dual-gauge double-track railway bridge will be constructed around 300 meters upstream of the existing Bangabandhu Bridge.

Officials at the Planning Commission said the potentials of rail freight transport with neighbouring countries cannot be exploited properly now with the existing Bangabandhu Bridge due to the limited access load and speed limit.

Under the circumstances, this dedicated railway bridge is being constructed over the Jamuna River to meet the growing demand of national and sub-regional rail traffic.

The main project operations include the construction of a 4.8-km long dual-gauge double-track bridge, construction of a 7.6-km long double-line railway approach embankment, erection of 30.73-km dual-gauge railway track, construction of 16 railway approach viaducts, minor bridges and culverts, renovation and remodeling of Bangabandhu Bridge East and Bangabandhu Bridge West stations and yards.

The project operations also include the construction of railway museum and ancillary infrastructures, conducting dredging at the approach channel and harbour of the Jamuna as well as strengthening river training on both sides of the bridge.

The Ecnec meeting also approved the Emergency Water Supply Project to be implemented by Dhaka Wasa with an estimated cost of Tk 732.32 crore.

Once the project is implemented by December 2023, it will be possible to supply an additional 447 MLD water to meet the growing demand in Dhaka metropolis benefitting around 1.60 crore people directly or indirectly.

The Planning Minister said a demonstration on a proposed website and apps being developed by the Planning Ministry was made before the Ecnec meeting to know in details and progress of various development projects and the Prime Minister was happy to see this demonstration.

The other projects approved at the meeting are Aminbazar Landfill Extension and Modernization with Tk 786.27 crore, Sheikhpara (Jhenidah)-Shailokopa-Langolbandh (Sripur)-Wapdamor (Magura) district highway widening and strengthening with Tk 267.59 crore, Rajshahi BSCIC Industrial Estate (1st revised) with Tk 40.96 crore, Protection of Right Embankment of the Jamuna River under Bera upazila in Pabna with Tk 433.10 crore, Protection of right and left embankments of the Dharla River under Kurigram Sadar, Rajarhat and Phulbari upazilas with Tk 595 crore, Protecting Charbagdanga and Shahjahanpur areas under Chapainawabganj Sadar upazila from erosion by the Padma River with Tk 566.12 crore.