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

  • Published at 08:16 pm June 17th, 2017
$300m loan deal for Chittagong-Cox's Bazar railway on June 21
The government will sign two separate loan agreements on June 21 for the construction of a railway line, according to a BSS report. "Two contracts, worth $300 million, will be signed between the Bangladesh government and Asian Development Bank (ADB) at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar for the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar Railway Project, Phase-1-Tranche-1, under the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) programme," an Economic Relations Division (ERD) official told BSS on Saturday. The objective of the project is to construct the 100km single-line dual-gauge railway track from Chittagong to Cox's Bazar via Ramu to Gundam in Myanmar, the official said. He said ERD Acting Secretary Kazi Shafiqul Azam and ADB Country Director Kazuhiko Higuchi would sign the deal on behalf of their respective sides. According to the project, rail connectivity will boost tourism as Dhaka passengers will be able to reach the coastal resort city in a mere six hours – four hours faster than the quickest road route. The line will begin at Chittagong’s Dohazari village and extend south to Xilongxa of Cox's Bazar through the Chandanaish, Satkania and Lohagara upazilas of Chittagong and the Chakaria, Cox's Bazar Sadar, Ramu and Ukhia upazilas of Cox's Bazar. The new route, marked as a fast-track project, will also form part of the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) route to connect Bangladesh to its regional neighbours, including China, Myanmar and Thailand. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) introduced the Trans Asian Railway Network to improve communication among Asian and European countries. The southern corridor of the TAR is one of three Asia-Europe rail land bridges studied by ESCAP as part of the Asian Land Transport Infrastructure Development project, endorsed by the 48th ESCAP Commission Session in Beijing in April 1992. Bangladesh will link up through the Southern Corridor of TAR.
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The project was supposed to be implemented at a cost of Tk18,034cr, of which the ADB approved around Tk12,000cr in September 2016 after completion of a feasibility study. It was approved in April 2016, with the aim of connecting Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar directly and including further connectivity between Bangladesh and Myanmar through the Gundam border. The dual gauge track, expected to be completed by 2022, has only been implemented 2.2%.