China plans high-speed rail network in Bangladesh



NNA |
Updated:
09 June 2022 12:12 STI

Dhaka [Bangladesh]Jun 09 (ANI): China is considering high-speed rail network projects in Bangladesh following the feasibility study by Bangladesh Railway (BR) for the construction of the rail network between Dhaka and Chattogram.
In a recent development, China has offered to carry out the project under the government-to-government public-private partnership (G2G-PPP), the Daily Star reported.
Additionally, Dhaka has also selected China Railway Group Ltd (CREC), a state-owned company, to implement the project, which will cost more than three times the expenditure of the Padma Bridge (Tk 30,193 crore).
Li Jiming, the Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh, wrote in April to Minister of Railways Nurul Islam Sujan for the signing of a memorandum of understanding between CREC and BR “as soon as possible”.
In addition to CREC, two other Chinese companies – China Railway Construction Corporation and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation – have expressed interest in forming a joint venture to construct, operate and fund manage the high-speed railway project under a PPP model.
Moreover, the ambassador expected a memorandum of understanding to be signed between the two governments in the “near future” to embark on the high-speed train project under the G2G-PPP, said reported The Daily Star.

Under the G2G-PPP agreement, Bangladesh can request other governments to provide financial support and select public or private entities to act as investors.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposed in October 2014 to build a high-speed rail network between Dhaka and Chattogram. However, the project has apparently been put on the back burner considering the huge sum of money – Tk 93,35,0.93 crore – required for its implementation.
No project under the G2G-PPP arrangement has yet been implemented in Bangladesh. Discussions with several countries, including Japan and South Korea, are underway to implement certain projects according to this model.
The Chinese proposal came at a time when leading transport experts questioned the viability of such a huge investment project. Some of them said that BR did not have the capacity to carry out this “very ambitious” project.
Even, the railways minister himself told the Daily Star last year that the government would “go slow” with the project due to the huge costs involved.
In Bangladesh, once the high-speed rail project is implemented, the journey on the 224.64 km route between Dhaka and Chattogram via Narayanganj-Cumilla-Feni will take 55 minutes continuously and 73 minutes with layovers. Travel time is currently over six hours.
The Dhaka-Chattogram highway is considered the lifeline of the economy as it carries over 80% of foreign trade. (ANI)

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