Korean Exim Bank to fund Kalurghat Bridge construction

Published : 28 Apr 2024 09:34 PM

A loan agreement with the Korean Exim Bank is scheduled to be signed in June, which is a big step forward for infrastructure development as it intends to speed up the building of the Kalurghat Bridge.

Kalurghat bridge is the main means of communication between Boalkhali and Patiya upazilas and Chattogram city.  The bridge was closed to traffic on August 1 last year for repairs.  Repair work may be completed soon.  All types of vehicles pass through this road, as well as trains, through this bridge.  Vehicles have to cross via ferry instead of bridge. That is why the railway authority took the initiative to renovate the bridge.

700-yard-long Kalurghat railway bridge was built in 1930 during the British period.  In 1958, this bridge was opened for all types of traffic by the then-government of Pakistan. The Kalurghat bridge over the Karnaphuli river has been vulnerable for many years. The importance of this bridge increased after the railway started on the way to Cox's Bazar.

The residents of Boalkhali upazila have been demanding for a long time to build another new railway and road bridge on the site of this almost hundred-year-old bridge.  The people of Chattogram have been demanding separate trains on the Chattogram-Cox's Bazar route.

Bangladesh Railway Director General Sardar Shahadat Ali said that the loan agreement of Bangladesh with Korean Exim Bank for the construction of Kalurghat Bridge is going to be made in June.  After the agreement, the ancillary work for the bridge construction will begin.

He said these things in an exchange meeting in the conference room of the General Manager of the Railway Eastern Region on Saturday afternoon.  Senior officials of the Eastern Railway were present.

He said that for the construction of Kalurghat Bridge, about Tk 12 thousand crores will be required. The GOB Fund will contribute Tk 4 thousand crores, and the remaining amount will be given by donor organisations.  This loan agreement with the government should be made with the Korean Exim Bank in June.  Recently, we had a meeting with the donor organisation.

Shahadat Ali said two trains have been placed in the timetable considering the demand for running trains on the Chattogram-Cox's Bazar route.  But we have some calculations of our own.  How many passengers go daily, how many trains we can run—these.  We know that if the train starts on this route, the suffering of the people will be reduced.  Railway revenue will also increase.  The problem is manpower and engine shortage.  However, we can run trains on the Chattogram-Cox's Bazar route.  

But in that case, one container train on the Dhaka-Chattogram route will have to run less.  The reason is that I have the engine and the buggy, but no driver.  We are hiring, but many are leaving the job.  It has become a big problem.  A panel system is being introduced to solve this problem.  

Older people are also being hired on contract.

He said that running regular trains on the Chattogram-Cox's Bazar route is the number one priority of the railways.  Trains should be given on Chattogram-Cox's Bazar route.  It is the number one priority.  We have no demand to run trains on this route.