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On the right track

  • Published at 12:00 am February 7th, 2019
Train tracks
Photo: BIGSTOCK

Decentralization is particularly difficult because of the snail’s pace at which traffic in the country moves

Of the many advancements Bangladesh continues to make as a nation -- with aspirations of double-digit GDP growth, shedding its LDC tag, and moving towards middle-income status -- there is perhaps no sector more important to focus on than the country’s infrastructure and connectivity.

This is why news of a high-speed railway from Dhaka to Chittagong, allowing travellers to reach their destinations in under an hour, is cause for much jubilation.

But the good news does not stop there. 

Addressing the parliament on Monday, Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan spoke of the Bangladesh Railway Master Plan which includes several other projects, including construction of a subway on the Dhaka-Tongi section and electric traction on the Narayanganj-Dhaka-Joydebpur section -- with the hope that all projects under the plan will be implemented by 2045.

Besides the obvious benefits of allowing citizens to travel within the country faster, high-speed railway connections may finally allow Dhaka to become decentralized, an issue this newspaper has editorialized numerous times on.

Right now, decentralization is particularly difficult because of the snail’s pace at which traffic in the country moves, especially within the capital, where over three million working hours are wasted every day due to congestion, and costs the overall economy Tk37,000 crore annually-- truly astonishing numbers. 

Bangladesh, as a small nation, can reap all the benefits of having superior connectivity between its major cities, essentially in the vein of other smaller nations, such as those in Europe.

No nation has truly progressed and developed with sub-par internal connectivity, and as such, Bangladesh is on the right track towards further prosperity through these projects, and the government deserves plaudits for such initiatives.