Home Bangladesh 3-yrs’ project takes 13.5-yr
Bangladesh - November 12, 2023

3-yrs’ project takes 13.5-yr

Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar Railway inaugurates

Mahfuja Mukul: The railway construction project from Chittagong’s Dohazari to Ramu to Cox’s Bazar and from Ramu to Ghundhum, the border of Myanmar, was taken up in July 2010. As a part of the Trans Asian Railway, this project was taken up to build 128 km railway line to increase regional connectivity. But there was a mistake at the beginning in the process of taking the project. The cost of this project taken without any kind of detailed survey was estimated at Tk 1,852 crores at that time.
The project was targeted for completion in 2013, three years after it was passed. For this reason, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of meter gauge railway construction on April 3, 2011 up to Dohazari-Ramu-Cox’s Bazar. However, while doing the survey, the railways came up with various issues.
Due to reserved forest areas, cantonment areas, elephant tracks, human settlements in some populated parts of the proposed railway route, the alignment of the railway line has to be changed. Besides, plans are also taken to convert the railway from meter gauge to dual gauge. Considering these issues, after the detailed survey and design of the railway, the cost increased to Tk 18,034 crores. That is, the construction cost increases by about 874 percent.
While revising the project, the Prime Minister directed to complete the construction of the Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar section by 2018. That instruction was given in a meeting. However, it took 2017 to hire two package contractors for the Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar section. The first package (Dohajari-Chakaria) is being jointly implemented by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and Tama Construction of Bangladesh. And in the second package (Chakaria-Ramu-Cox’s Bazar) China Certification and Inspection Company (CCECC) and Max Infrastructure of Bangladesh are working jointly.
The contract value of the first package was around Tk 2,688 crore and the second package was around Tk 3,502 crore. The duration of the contract was three years, although it was later extended. And in 2018, the main construction work started. However, 28 km of Ramu to Ghundhum section had to be dropped later due to lack of Myanmar’s consent. Under the project, Tk 15,476 crore is being spent on the construction of 100 km railway from Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar.
According to sources, the 48 km railway from Chittagong to Dohazari to reach Cox’s Bazar was built during the British period. But that railway is very dilapidated. Apart from this, the Kalurghat bridge is also in a dangerous condition. For this reason, two separate projects are being taken for renovation of Chittagong to Dohazari railway and construction of new railway bridge at Kalurghat. At present, the train will run over the Kalurghat bridge at reduced speed.
However, an unexpected incident has happened in the meantime. Last August, due to heavy rains and landslides, stones and soil were washed away in a part of the under-construction Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar railway line. About one kilometer of railway has become up and down and crooked. Later that section was renovated and the railway was made suitable for train movement. Although the train will not run on this route after the inauguration today. Train service will start from Chittagong to Cox’s Bazar on December 1. Initially one train will be launched.
Meanwhile, a beautiful six-storey iconic railway station has been built in Chander Para of Jhelongja Union near Cox’s Bazar beach. The 187,000 square feet railway station built on 29 acres of land has been constructed. The iconic railway station has state-of-the-art facilities including star hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, childcare centers, luggage lockers. The air-conditioned iconic railway station with a daily capacity of 46,000 passengers also has a post office, convention center, information center, ATM booth and prayer space.
The construction of the iconic railway station cost Tk 215 crore. Railway Minister Nurul Islam visited the railway station last Thursday afternoon. He told the reporters that the station and the railway track are ready for train movement. After Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated railways and railway stations, new doors of economy will be opened.
The officials of Max Infrastructure Limited of Bangladesh, the contracting company, said that a beautiful oyster-shaped fountain has been created in the open field in front of the railway station of the air-conditioned six-storey building. Passengers will enter the station through the oyster fountain. Then the train will become a pedestrian bridge through the moving stairs. Passengers will get off the train and take a different route to the beach. Two separate roads have been made for going in and out. There are three separate large car parking spaces.
An 80 feet long pedestrian bridge has been constructed on the eastern side of the building. Three separate escalators are attached to it. Special arrangements have been made for the elderly and disabled. Three platforms of 650 meters length and 12 meters width have been constructed in the north of the building.
The ground floor of the main building houses ticket counters, reception rooms, lockers, information centers, mosques, children’s entertainment areas, passenger lounges and pedestrian bridges. The second floor has shopping malls, child care centers, restaurants, etc. 39-room star hotel on the third floor, restaurant, childcare center, conference hall and officers’ offices on the fourth floor.
The biggest attraction of the 100 km Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar railway is the iconic railway station. Tourists can take the night train from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar in the morning, leave their luggage and goods at the station, visit the beach or sightseeing places all day and return to their destination by night train. 20 buildings with five floors have been constructed on the west side of the station building.

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