Dhaka: Out of the 64 districts of Bangladesh, 43 districts are currently served by rail. The government wants to bring 64 districts under the railways by 2045 in light of the 30-year master plan.
Currently, the 21 districts which are not connected by railway are Cox’s Bazar, Narail, Shariatpur, Madaripur, Satkhira, Meherpur, Khagrachari, Bandarban, Rangamati, Sherpur, Munshiganj, Manikganj, Magura, Laxmipur and Bagerhat.
Barisal does not have railways as the only department. 6 districts of Barisal – Barisal, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Pirojpur and Jhalkathi.
After a long time, three ongoing projects of Bangladesh Railway are awaiting inauguration in this month of October. These three projects are – the Padma Rail Link Project, the Khulna-Mongla Rail Project, and Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar Rail Project. Through this new 5 districts are being connected by railway.
Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan also said that the railway will be inaugurated from Dhaka to Banga via Padma Bridge on October 10.
The railway minister said that the prime minister has given his consent to the inauguration of the Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar and Khulna-Mongla railways.
Meanwhile, passenger trains will start a week after the inauguration of the Dhaka-Bhanga section of the Padma Rail Link Project by the Prime Minister on October 10.
Through this, Munshiganj, Shariatpur, and Madaripur districts are coming under rail connectivity. Sundarban Express and Nakshikantha Express on the Dhaka-Khulna route, Benapole Express on the Dhaka-Benapole route, and Madhumati Express on the Dhaka-Rajshahi route can run from the beginning. And international train Maitri Express of the Dhaka-Kolkata route will also become Padma Bridge.
Through the Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar rail project, the tourist city of Cox’s Bazar is being included under the rail link. For which the tourism-loving people of the country are eagerly waiting.
On the other side, Bagerhat district is being newly connected via the Mongla-Khulna railway project, with an estimated cost of 4,260 crore taka. The inauguration of this project is expected to take place in October, as announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Through the construction of a 65-kilometer broad-gauge railway track, the railway corridor will be linked to the country’s second seaport in Mongla.
Prior to this development, the Khulna-Bagerhat railway track, initiated in 1918, was abandoned in 1998 after being partially completed. In 2012, all movable and immovable assets were sold, leading to the declaration of the section’s closure. As a result, the Bagerhat district lost its railway connection.
The Project Director of the Khulna-Mongla railway project, Md. Arifuzzaman has stated, “98% of the work on the Khulna-Mongla railway track has been completed. We hope that by the end of October, trains will start running on this route. We are progressing with the work.”
Once this railway line becomes operational, it is expected to boost trade and commerce by opening up new opportunities. The railway corridor will not only connect Khulna and Mongla but is also planned as an international railway route to enhance the business and trade prospects of the port.
Furthermore, by 2024, Narail will be connected through the Padma railway link, and Magura district will be newly connected via the Madhukhali-Magura railway line.
Subsequently, several other districts will gradually be connected to the railway network through various projects. Among them, Satkhira, Barishal, Rangamati, Jhalokathi, Patuakhali, Barguna, Pirojpur, and Meherpur districts will be connected in the first phase.
Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan has mentioned that plans are underway to review various projects to connect the remaining districts to the railway network. If all the ongoing projects are completed according to the railway’s master plan, a total of eight districts will be connected by rail. These eight districts are Satkhira, Barishal, Rangamati, Jhalokathi, Patuakhali, Barguna, Pirojpur, and Meherpur.
On the other hand, the construction of the railway track in Manikganj district is under consideration and is currently in the review process, according to the Railway Minister.
Once the master plan of Bangladesh Railways is finalized, the remaining four districts – Lakshmipur, Sherpur, Bandarban, and Khagrachari – are expected to be connected to the railway network by 2045, as stated by the Railway Minister.