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28 October, 2017 01:05:52 AM
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High speed train service planned to reduce Dhaka-Ctg travel time

‘Stronger railway connectivity a better option’
UNB
High speed train service planned to reduce Dhaka-Ctg travel time
 

The government has finally backed off from its decision to build either a complete elevated expressway over Dhaka-Chittagong highway or an at-grade expressway as it is now looking for introducing high speed train to improve railway connectivity between the capital and the port city, reports UNB.

Transport and urban experts hailed the latest move as they think upgrading the railway communications is very crucial for ensuring a sustainable development, and cost effective, time-befitting and environment-friendly communications infrastructure.

They also said the government should consider the Dhaka-Chittagong rail route as the economic corridor and develop the railway infrastructure with a well-thought-out design by connecting the EPZ mouths, industrial belts and the Chittagong port to facilitate the exporters and importers and thus boost the economic growth and make the railway a profitable sector.

The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) first took a plan in 2013 for constructing a 218-km at-grade six-lane expressway in addition to the existing Dhaka-Chittagong national highway to ease traffic congestion.

Later, Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) worked out an alternative plan to build a complete elevated expressway over the existing Dhaka-Chittagong Highway.

Following the ‘competition’ between the two bodies of the Roads and Highways Ministry for pursing their respective projects, the government is now contemplating to take a project for introducing high-speed trains between the two cities via Comilla.

Sources at the Railways Ministry said passengers will be able to travel from Dhaka to Chittagong or Chittagong to Dhaka within one and half hours if the high-speed train service is introduced.

Contacted, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader told UNB, “Though we had earlier planned to construct an elevated expressway, we’re not going to implement it now for some reasons.”

Instead, he said, the Railways Ministry will implement a project for running high-speed train service between Dhaka and Chittagong via Comilla for faster communication.

Contacted, urban transport expert Prof Shamsul Hoque of Buet’s Civil Engineering department said high-speed train project is more viable than the elevated expressway one.

“If we build an elevated expressway, we may smoothly use it for 20 years. After that, we must construct another elevated expressway or highway to cope with the growing number of vehicles and population. But if we develop a rail track we’ll get its maximum benefits for over 70 to 80 years only by increasing the frequency of trains,” he observed.

The transport expert also said development of railway connectivity is considered as a sustainable development approach across the world, but not the road development. “So, we should shift our focus on railway development from road one also to attain the suitable development goals by 2030,” he said.

Hoque also thinks developing roads by damaging arable land is an outdated and plain method while development of railway is part of strategic economic development. “India has already devolved a freight train corridor to gear up its economic development. We should now think of developing railway-based infrastructure for our rapid economic development.”

The Buet professor said if the government can develop railway as an economic corridor it will help reduce the pressure of vehicles like goods carrying trucks and covered vans on roads, check pollution, save fuel cost, road maintenance cost and quicken transportation of goods.

Hoque said the government will not be able to make railway profitable by only carrying passengers. “The Railway will be profitable within a short time if the government can ensure its optimum use by facilitating cargo services to businessmen. If the traders can transport their goods by train from Chittagong to Dhaka or Dhaka to Chittagong within two hours they won’t think of using trucks or covered vans.”

Prof Sarwar Jahan of Buet’s Urban and Regional Planning (URP) department said it is a bad idea to build an elevated expressway on Dhaka-Chittagong long route. “It’ll be the right decision if the government plans to develop the railway and introduce high-speed trains.”

Though it will be a very expensive project, he said, the government should implement it for the country’s faster development.

Sarwar Jahan also said the more the roads will be constructed the more you will get vehicles. “Once we’ll be able to build more and more rail tracks, we’ll be able to control the flow of other vehicles by increasing the number of trains.”

He also said a dedicated rail track having link to the Chittagong port is necessary for carrying goods to facilitate the country’s trade and business and its overall development.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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