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Bangladesh railway sustainability depends on modern, secure, automated systems

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder* 

The work of checking the feasibility of running high speed trains on the Dhaka-Chittagong corridor is going on. The construction of broad-gauge railway line from Dhaka to Jessore is being implemented through the implementation of rail link on the dream Padma bridge. Not only the railways, but also the road communication system of the country is getting new milestones.
Dhaka-Chittagong double rail line has finally become a reality. The Prime Minister inaugurated the Akhaura-Laksam double line virtually from Gana Bhavan on Thursday. As a result of the inauguration of the project, it will be possible to go from Dhaka to Chittagong in just four hours. The ease of communication between the capital city of Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong will bring blessings for the country's trade and commerce. Out of the 321 km railway between the capital and the port city of Chittagong, 249 km was already double line. But since the 72 km railway from Laksam to Akhaura is a single line, it would take time to travel. That is why the initiative to upgrade it to double line is taken. However, the implementation of the project was repeatedly delayed due to various reasons. Finally, after the completion of the project, the train has officially started running on the double line from Thursday. As a result, communication between the two major cities of the country will be easier than before.
In 2015, 61 km double line to Laksam-Chinki Astana and 64 km double line to Tongi-Bhairab were commissioned in 2016. Before this, double lines were built up to Chittagong-Chinki Astana and Tongi-Dhaka. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Akhaura-Laksam Double Line project virtually from Ganobhaban at 11 am on Thursday. Railway Minister was present at Laksam station and participated in the inauguration ceremony. As 100% double line, it will be possible to operate twice as many trains through Dhaka-Chittagong railway. Naturally, the dependence on roads will decrease. Dhaka-Chittagong rail route is considered to be the most profitable route of Bangladesh Railway. Passengers can come from one city to another city and return after work on the same day. Dhaka-Chittagong double line will make a significant contribution in turning Bangladesh Railways from a loss-making enterprise to a profitable one. We hope that the authorities will take all necessary steps to facilitate Dhaka-Chittagong rail travel.
The government has approved a 30-year long master plan for sustainable development in the rail sector. Among the works that are going on according to the master plan, Padma bridge rail link, Dohazari construction of Cox's Bazar, Myanmar border railway line, Khulna-Mongla port railway line, Bangabandhu railway bridge construction and Dhaka-Chittagong high speed railway construction project and others are worth mentioning. The mentioned projects are being seriously considered. Among others, there are plans to establish rail connectivity with the 88 economic zones that the government has undertaken to establish. Apart from this, Nepal, Bhutan and a part of India are covered by regional rail communication network in Bangladesh. And the corridors through which rail communication was closed will be developed and opened.
Despite its small size, this country of 170 million people has achieved self-sufficiency in food. Not only in food, but our development in many areas is particularly admired-enviable in the outside world. However, the communication system has not yet made such a boom. We believe that a number of noticeable road improvements will probably be visible within a few days.
The Awami League in all its election manifestos had announced great hopes for rail connectivity. It has been able to implement a lot in a decade and a half of power. It has implemented big mega projects like Padma Bridge and rail connectivity to Padma Bridge without foreign loans. Among which Dhaka-Chittagong double lane, Dohazari-Cox's Bazar rail line, Dhaka Metrorail, new railway bridge to be built on Yamuna River, Kalurghat railway bridge are among the noteworthy ones. It is known that the government is implementing a 20-year development plan for the development and modernization of rail infrastructure.
According to the sources of the Ministry of Railways, Cox's Bazar, the world's longest beach, has been given the most importance in the 20-year project worth Tk 2.5 lakh crore. As per Prime Minister's instructions to promote the tourism industry of Beach City Cox's Bazar, the construction of Chittagong-Cox's Bazar railway is nearing the end. In addition, there are plans for direct train communication between eastern and western regions by establishing dual-gauge railways across the country, establishing railway lines at Bangabandhu Bridge, and constructing another railway bridge in the Bahadurabad-Phulchhari area over the Yamuna River in this 20-year master plan.
The work of checking the feasibility of running high speed trains on the Dhaka-Chittagong corridor is going on. The construction of broad-gauge railway line from Dhaka to Jessore is being implemented through the implementation of rail link on the dream Padma bridge. Not only the railways, but also the road communication system of the country is getting new milestones.
The reality is that there is no substitute for the development of the overall communication system for the economic development of a country. The easier the transportation system is in the country, the greater the economic flow of the country. Recently, there has been a breakthrough development in this regard in Bangladesh. But the authorities have to be more careful to prevent train accidents. With modern and automated systems of signaling and enhanced security at every gate, rail communication will become more attractive to the general public as a completely safe mode of transport. It is expected that this trend of development and modernization of rail communication will ccontinue.
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*Researcher and Strategic affairs analyst, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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