Sources said around 20 million people of the western zone of the country have been deprived of railway services as the work of the railway project could not be started yet
More than two years have passed since steps were taken in a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) to construct Bogra-Sirajganj dual gauge railway aimed at easing communication between the two districts.
Sources said around 20 million people of the western zone of the country have been deprived of railway services as the work of the railway project could not be started yet.
The work of the project promised by the prime minister was supposed to start before the 11th general elections, said the sources.
Al Fattah Masudur Rahman, chief engineer of the West Zone of Bangladesh Railway, said the work could not be started due to bureaucratic complexities.
The zone headquartered in Rajshahi has adopted the project titled “Construction of Dual Gauge Rail Line from Bogra to Shahid M Monsur Ali Station, Sirajganj, of Bangladesh Railway,” he said.
The project had been approved in the ECNEC meeting on October 30, 2018, adding that an 86.51km mainline and another 16.30km loop line including other specified civil works will be constructed under the Tk5,579.70 crore project.
The project involves the construction of a 72km railway line from Bogra to Jamtoil (Sirajganj) besides construction of stations, platforms, bridges, an administrative facility and other related facilities, the installation of lighting, overhead sign structures, and the laying of track.
Two important bridges on the Karatoa and Isamoti rivers and overpass on Dhaka-Bogra highway will also be constructed with installation of modern signalling and telecommunication.
The project would establish a shorter dual gauge link between the western and northern parts of the country with the eastern and southern parts via capital Dhaka.
“We have to acquire 960 acres of land for installation of new dual gauge mainline from Bogra to Shahid Monsur Ali Stations via Sirajganj and Raipur,” said Engineer Rahman.
Upon its successful implementation, by June, 2023, this railway route will reduce travel time from Dhaka to the northern part of Bangladesh besides reducing traffic congestion and air pollution through diversion of traffic to the railway, he said.
There has long been a demand for building railway lines between Bogra and Sirajganj. Since there is no direct railway, the trains have to cross 120kms via Shantahar, Natore, and Iswawrdi of Pabna. When it takes about eight hours to go to Dhaka by road, it takes about 12 to 14 hours by rail.
The project was taped in files for a long time due to many problems including fund crisis and bureaucratic complexities. The Indian government decided to fund the project under an agreement signed between the Bangladesh and Indian governments for development of Bangladesh's road communication and power sector on October 4, 2017, in Dhaka.