Govt-ADB ink $300 million loan deal for railway

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PV Desk : The Government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) today signed agreements for US$300 million in loans to help build a dual-gauge railway connecting Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar to promote trade and regional connectivity.

This assistance forms the first tranche of $1.5 billion ADB loans for the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar Railway Project, said a press release here.

The first tranche will finance 20 percent of the progress towards constructing 102 kilometers of new railway line between Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam and ADB Principal country Specialist Jyotsana Varma signed the agreements on behalf of their respective sides.

“This project, which is closely aligned with Bangladesh’s Seventh Five Year Plan, will provide efficient, safe and environmentally-friendly railway transport,” said Jyotsana Varma.

“The project design will integrate features that are friendly to the elderly, women, children, and people with disabilities,” he added.

The new rail link, which opens in 2022, aims to transport 2.9 million passengers annually between Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar by 2025.

The construction of this railway section is one of several ADB railway projects to help Bangladesh meet its targets under its Seventh Five-Year Plan and Railway Master Plan.

It will help boost Bangladesh Railway’s freight market share to 15 percent and passenger market share to 10 percent by 2020 – both are currently around 4 percent.

Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar Railway forms part of the Trans-Asia Railway network, an initiative led by United Nations, aiming to provide seamless rail links between Asia and Europe to better connect people and markets.

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