Bangladesh’s railway network has, for some time, needed upgrading and better connectivity to serve the country more efficiently.
It is, then, heartening to see plans to construct a dual-gauge railway line that is certain to increase trade and tourism in the southernmost part of Bangladesh.
This is all made possible by the $1.5 billion loan provided by the Asian Development Bank -- the highest loan the ADB has approved so far for a single project.
The highly ambitious project, which plans to lay down a 102-kilometre stretch of railway, would connect Cox’s Bazar with the existing Bangladesh railway network.
This is great news for Bangladesh. As part of the Trans-Asia railway network, such a project would not only connect the country better, but would also connect to networks in Myanmar and promote regional cooperation.
Better railway facilities would also help reduce congestion on our highways, which have become untenable in recent years, thereby cutting down travel time, reducing emissions, and improving the quality of life.
Both domestic and international tourism would get a boost.
However, while the approval of the loan is a significant step, and the initial blueprint looks promising, implementation is key.
In the past, we have seen projects get stalled endlessly, or get bogged down by bureaucracy and corruption.
Let us not delay with this project. Proper and speedy implementation is vital to securing the future of our economy, and will see Bangladesh move a step closer fulfilling its 7th Five-Year Plan.