Railways minister Nurul Islam Sujan on Saturday said that they were planning to conduct a trial run of a train on the Dhaka-Mawa section under the Padma Rail Link Project by July or the first week of August.

While inaugurating setting up of rail track on the Bhanga-Jashore section under the same project he also said that prime minister Sheikh Hasina would inaugurate the train service on the Dhaka-Bhanga route through the Padma Bridge in September this year.

The Bangladesh Railway under the railway ministry has been setting up a 169-kilometre rail link under the fast-track project between Dhaka and Jashore at a cost of Tk 39,246 crore.

The minister attended a ceremony at Bhanga upazila on the day with senior ministry and railway, among others.

Nurul Islam Sujan said that they were hoping that the Mawa-Kamalapur (Dhaka) section would become fit for trial train run by July or the first week of August when they would check the safety.

The minister said that among the new stations only one – at Keraniganj – would be elevated, which was a challenge for them.

Under the project, there are 14 new stations and six old stations will be renovated.

With the Padma link project, the prime minister would also inaugurate the new rail line on the Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar section this September for public use, he added

Earlier on April 4, the railway conducted a trial run of the first ever train on the Bhanga-Mawa rail line through the 6.15-kilometre long Padma Bridge in 16 minutes amid huge enthusiasm and festivity.

Till May this year, the overall physical progress of the project progress is 77 per cent and overall financial progress is 72.65 per cent.

Of the Padma Bridge Rail Link project’s four components, the progress of the Mawa-Bhanga portion is 94 per cent, Dhaka-Mawa portion is 75.5 per cent, and Bhanga-Jashore portion is 70 per cent.

As for the fourth component, out of 100 passenger coaches, 80 have been collected till now.

In September 2020, Padma Bridge project officials raised questions about faults in the design of the rail link project at Janjira and Mawa entry points, identifying them as ‘black spots’.

In January 2021, the rail link project corrected the flaws in the design.

The development project proforma of the project was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council on May 3, 2016 with the cost of Tk 34,988.8 crore and a timeline of January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2022.

On May 22, 2018 the ECNEC increased the project cost again taking the total cost to Tk 39,246.8 crore.

The ECNEC on the same day also extended its completion deadline by two years to June 2024.

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