DHAKA: The government has scraped a project for procurement of six sets of diesel-electric multiple unit (DEMU) commuter trains to launch a shuttle train service between Dhaka and the hi-tech park at Kaliakair in Gazipur.
Earlier, the railway ministry submitted a project proposal of over Tk 161 crore to the Planning Commission to proceed with the plan.
The decision was taken at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in the NEC conference room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital city on Tuesday (July 16).
Eight projects have been approved in the meeting, with the ECNEC chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
After the ECNEC meeting, quoting the Prime Minister, Planning Division Secretary Nurul Amin said, “Demu train is not suitable for Bangladesh. So, DEMU can not be bought again. They have to be repaired. Instead of DEMU, we will buy another train”.
Currently, Bangladesh Railway has 20 sets of DEMU trains that faced criticism due to some issues like inconsistent train height compared with platforms, lack of onboard latrines and lack of maintenance workshop.
So, the government has decided to set up a factory and workshop involving Tk308.22 crore to ensure proper maintenance of the trains.
In 2011, a deal was signed with Tongan Railway Vehicle Company Limited in China to procure 20 sets of DEMU with the cost of Tk426 crore. With this, the total cost of the project was Tk 654 crores including customs duty, taxes, training of officials, foreign travel and allowances.
In 2013, the 20 sets of DEMU trains have hit tracks on different routes of the country. Eight sets of DEMU trains went out of service after two years. Recently two sets have been repaired and restarted. In these circumstances, the project of procuring new ones has been cancelled.
ECNEC approved 8 projects involving TK 5,142.06crore including the one to widen and strengthen important upazila and union roads in Dhaka Division worth Tk 2,606 crore.
Of the total project cost, Tk 4,129.81 crore will come from the Government of Bangladesh portion and the rest of Taka 1,012.55 crore from project assistance.
In the meeting, a project has been approved for overhauling and widening of main road from Holiday Circle-Bazarghata-Larpara (bus Stand) under Cox’s Bazar town with Tk 258.82 crore.
The secretary said, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in the meeting, underscored the need for creating more ‘jhao bon’ in the coastal areas of Cox’s Bazar to protect the tourist town from natural calamity.
She also directed the Deputy Commissioner of Cox’s Bazar to frame a ‘master plan’ so that buildings and other infrastructures are not mushroomed here and there in Cox’s Bazar.
The other projects approved in the meeting are Irrigation development at Pabna-Natore-Sirajganj upazilas through using surface water with Taka 560.53 crore, Export competitiveness for jobs project, 1st Revised with Taka 1,012.12 crore, Establishment of telecommunication network at Mirsarai Economic Zone in Chattogram with Tk 61.90 crore, Veterinary Public Health Service strengthening project for protecting public health with Taka 73.26 crore and Chittagong Hill Tracts rural development project 2nd phase, 3rd Revised with Taka 224.50 crore.
BDST: 1736 HRS, JULY 16, 2019