$300m loan deal for Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar railway June 21

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DHAKA : The government is set to sign two separate loan agreements on June 21 for construction of Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar Railway Line.

“A total of two contracts would be signed between Bangladesh government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) worth of US$ 300 million at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar for Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar Railway Project, Phase-1-Tranche-1under South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC),” an official of Economic Relations Division (ERD) told BSS here today.

He said acting secretary of Economic Relations Division (ERD) Kazi Shafiqul Azam and country director of ADB Kazuhiko Higuchi would sign the deal on behalf of their respective sides.

The objective of the project is to construct the Single Line Dual Gauge (DG) Railway Track from Chittagong to Cox’s Bazar via Ramu to Gundum in Myanmar, the official said.

Rail connectivity to Cox’s Bazar will boost tourism as Dhaka’s passengers will be able to reach the coastal resort city in only six hours – four hours faster than the current quickest route by road. Even the journey from Kolkata will be only a matter of 16 hours, according to the project.

It said the new link will also form part of the Trans-Asian Rail Route connecting Bangladesh to other regional neighbours including China, Myanmar and Thailand.

The government has also marked the Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar Rail-Line Project as a fast-track project. The rail link will connect to Myanmar via Teknaf’s Gundum border.

The line will begin at Dohazari village of Chittagong and extend southwards to Xilongxa of Cox’s Bazar through seven upazilas: Chandanaish, Satkania and Lohagara of Chittagong; and Chakaria, Cox’s Bazar Sadar, Ramu and Ukhia of Cox’s Bazar, according to project documents.

The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) took initiative to introduce Trans Asian Railway Network to improve the communication system among the countries of Asia and Europe. The southern corridor of the Trans-Asian Railway is one of three Asia-Europe rail land bridges studied by ESCAP as part of the Asian Land Transport Infrastructure Development (ALTID) project which was endorsed by the 48th ESCAP Commission Session in Beijing in April 1992. Bangladesh is connecting through Southern Corridor of TAR.

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