Donors unhappy, cost may increase
Al Amin: The construction work of the Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar rail track, one of the fast track mega projects of the government to implement on priority basis, is delaying due to the acquired lands are yet to handed over by forest department, project officials said. The donors of the project are also unhappy and fearing of increase of cost.
According to the project officials, a total of 1,367 acres of lands are needed for the 129.58 Km rail line project. Of them, 364 acres are in Chattagram and the rest is in Cox’s Bazar district. But only 20 percent lands have been handed over so far, although the concerned district administrations have been paid all the projected money.
Sohel Uddin Babu, Site Engineer of the local company Toma Construction, told Daily Industry, “Our Company and China Rail Engineering Corporation jointly got the works of the construction of 52 km of the project. Primarily, we have started to construct of 3 bridges and we will start the construction works of the rail line in full swing, when the land acquisition works will be completed.”
He also alleged that the construction work is delaying as some 207 acres lands are yet to be acquired from Forest Department.
“We have been requesting the Forest Department, Rail Ministry and Forest Ministry for the last two years but yet to get any response from the authority,” Babu added.
According to the Rail Ministry sources, 20 percent construction works of the project has been ended so far.
“Construction work of the 102km Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar dual gauge track is going on in full swing. Already half of the land acquisition has been completed,” Project Director Mofijur Rahman told Daily Industry.
“Construction of roads, bridges, culverts is going on simultaneously,” he added.
He also alleged that the advancement of the project is delaying as land acquisition from the Forest Department is yet to be completed.
But the Forest Department said, “Field works on damaging of forest and biodiversity have already been completed. There is no option of killing time in this regard as the project is government’s fast tract.”
“The number of trees to be cut, how much it will be worth, and what kind of damage to the biodiversity will be, the report on theses has already been sent to the respective departments of the ministry. Now the project authority will have to pay the projected money and they can start the construction works,” he added.
Meanwhile, Asian Development Bank (ADB), the financed institution of the project, expressed its dissatisfaction for delaying the construction works and concerned over increasing project-cost and duration.
The project will be implemented in two phases with CREC of China and Toma Construction implementing the first phase of laying lines from Dohajari to Chakoria at Tk 2,687.99 crore, while Max Infrastructure Ltd along with China’s CREC will implement the second phase at an estimated cost of Tk 3,502. 5 crore, the sources added.
The rail line from Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar which is expected to complete by 2022 will facilitate quick travel to the world’s longest sea beach from the capital.
Neighboring India, Nepal and Bhutan will also be connected to Cox’s Bazar through the existing Dhaka-Kolkata rail route after the completion of the project.
The rail line will facilitate travelling of over 26,000 passengers’ everyday to and from Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar.
In the first phase, Project Director Mofijur Rahman said, the rail line will be constructed from Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar and in second phase the rail link will be constructed from Cox’s Bazar to Ghundom, Teknaf.
The new link will also form part of the Trans-Asian Rail Route connecting Bangladesh with its other regional neighbours including China, Myanmar and Thailand, he added.
Beginning from Dohazari village of Chittagong, the rail line will be expanded southwards up to Xilongxa of Cox’s Bazar through seven upazilas-Chandanaish, Satkania and Lohagara of Chittagong and Chakaria, Cox’s Bazar Sadar, Ramu and Ukhia of Cox’s Bazar.
The project involves the construction of around 200 bridges, culverts and nine new stations including the iconic Oyster-shaped station at Cox’s Bazar.
On April 19, 2016, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) at its 27th meeting approved the single-line dual-gauge rail project.
Earlier on July 6, 2010, the ECNEC approved the project for constructing only a single-line meter gauge track. On September 9, 2014, the government decided to turn the single line meter gauge project into a dual gauge project.