Govt works to expand rail network across country: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the government is working to expand rail communication networks across the country, especially in areas having no railway.
Besides, the government has also restored the rail connectivity with neighboring India on different routes and planned to establish rail communication with Siliguri, she said.
The premier was addressing the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Madhukhali-Kamarkhali-Magura new rail track construction project and launching of a special mango train on Chapainawabganj-Dhaka route virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Mentioning that Awami League (AL) government always gives priority to the development of the country and people’s fate, she said now it has undertaken a massive rail network expansion job with utmost importance.
“We will bring under rail connectivity the areas (districts) which do not have it yet so that people can easily move, do business and transport their products,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said AL after assuming power after 21 years put concentration on the restoration and development of the country’s rail communication, as the then BNP government had ruined the sector taking the prescription of the World Bank.
She said her government installed railway track on Bangabandhu Bridge (over Jamuna River) to establish connectivity with the country’s northern parts that has eased communication of mass people and transportation of goods at low cost.
“We don’t run the government taking anyone’s advice, rather always work to upgrade the life and livelihood of people and develop the country,” she added.
The premier continued that they have established a separate ministry for railway to ensure the development of the sector alongside road, waterways and air connectivity.
Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan presided over the function from Magura end.
Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus conducted the ceremony at Ganabhaban while Railways Secretary Md Salim Reza delivered the welcome speech.
A video on the country’s rail service was screened at the ceremony.
The Prime Minister said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, immediately after the independence, had restored the Hardinge, Bhairab and Teesta railway bridges along with small others to ease the railway communication.
But, after the brutal killing of Bangabandhu along with his family members in 1975, Bangladesh had deviated from his ideology and the military and illegally power-grabbers concentrated on amassing wealth turning the power into a matter of enjoyment, she said.
Sheikh Hasina briefly highlighted her government’s initiative to expand rail communication domestically and internationally such as the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, dedicated rail bridge on theJumuna River, Khulna-Mongla railway track, Dhaka-Tongi 3rd and 4th dual gauge tracks, Toni-Joydebpur dual gauge double rail lines, Akhaura-Laksam dual gauge double lines, Dhaka-Narayanganj dual gauge line, Dhaka-Chattogram high speed rail, Bhanga-Barishal-Paira Port rail track, Joydebpur-Ishwardi dual gauge double lines, Khulna-Darshana duel gauge double lines, Sirajganj-Bogura dual gauge rail line, Joydebpur-Mymensingh-Jamalpur dual gauge double line and Akhaura-Sylhet rail line.
“We’ve more plans about rail communication . . . we will bring the entire Bangladesh under rail connectivity,” she said.
She went on saying that those who, once upon a time, wanted to close railways, have now taken initiative to construct Railway Bridge there (Jamuna River).
Talking about the Madhukhali-Kamarkhali-Magura rail track, the premier said the rail line went beside Magura district, but the people of the areas had no access to it. Now, their (people of Magura) long cherished desire will be fulfilled and they will get full benefit after the opening of the Padma Bridge, she said.
She, however, asked the Railways Ministry to extend the rail track up to Meherpur from Kushtia where Mujibnagar, the first capital of Bangladesh, is located.
Regarding the inter-country rail connectivity, the Prime Minister said her government has restored Darshana-Gede, Benapole-Petrapole, Rahanpur-Singabad, Biral-Radhikapur and Chilahati-Haldibari rail routes as part of rail connectivity between Bangladesh and India. “We’ve planned to extend the rail communication up to Siliguri.”
About the special mango train, she said this initiative has been taken so he people across the country can get the taste of good mangoes and business of the people expands.