May 25, 2024, 7:43 pm

Tawfikul Islam

2024-04-19 09:48:26 BdST

Padma rail link to get budget cut, extension

The Ministry of Railways has decided to reduce the cost of the Padma Rail Link Project by around Tk234 crore.

The second revised development project proposal (RDPP) of the Padma Rail Link Project was presented in the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) meeting on Wednesday (17 April).

At the meeting, it has been proposed to extend the project implementation period up to 2026 along with the defect liability period. However, the deadline for completion is June 2024.

In the project, the construction of a 169-km railway line from Dhaka to Jashore was estimated at Tk39,246 crore.

The rationale for cost reduction in the proposed RDPP states that expenditure on land acquisition and rehabilitation has been reduced.

In the land acquisition portion, a reduction of Tk1,172.27 crore to Tk5052.64 crore has been proposed while in the rehabilitation portion, the cost has been reduced by Tk115.18 crore to Tk451.03 crore.

Also, the expenditure on asset purchase has reduced by Tk12.20 crore, repair and maintenance expenditure by Tk1.50 crore and administrative expenditure by Tk1.61 crore.

However, an increase in expenditure has been proposed in the consultancy sector and utility shifting sector. However, overall project costs are declining.

Expenditure on the government segment decreased by Tk153.32 crore and the project loan segment decreased by Tk80.58 crore. The overall project cost has been reduced by Tk233.91 crore.

According to RDPP, additional time will be required to complete the construction of the underpass link road with utility shifting at TT Para (Dhaka), 3rd line from Dhaka to Gendaria and the construction of an iconic station at Bhanga (Faridpur).

Besides, construction of the CTC building at TT Para for signalling work, signalling work of 10 stations in the Jashore section from demolition, and overall final commissioning through the CBI System will require a minimum of one year.

After all this work, some time will be required to pay the final bill.

At the same time, it is necessary to extend the term by considering the limited range of consulting services, and administrative expenses including salaries and allowances of the Project Implementation Unit, remaining land acquisition, one-year defect liability period after completing all the works, etc.

Accordingly, the implementation period of the project has been increased by two years from June 2024 to June 2026.

Padma Bridge Rail Link Project Director Md Afzal Hossain, said, “Some savings have been made in some aspects of the project due to land acquisition. As government land has been acquired and transferred, some money has been recovered from that portion. In some areas, costs have increased, and in some, they have decreased.”

“Altogether, it has been proposed to reduce project expenses. The deadline has been proposed to be extended until June 2026. However, our work will be completed before that. The rail line has been laid up to Jashore, with some signalling and station building work remaining.”

The rail line from Dhaka to Mawa was inaugurated in October, extending up to Bhanga. Nearly 82 kilometres of the main rail line construction from Bhanga to Rupdia (Jashore) has also been completed. However, signalling arrangements for the entire route and station building construction will not be completed by June.

The progress report for March 2024 on the Padma Rail Link Project indicates an overall advancement of 91%. Subdivided, the Dhaka-Mawa section has progressed by 95%, the Mawa-Bhanga section by 99%, and the Bhanga-Jashore section by 99%.

In terms of infrastructure, the project includes the construction of a 169km mainline, 53.97 kms of loop and siding lines, and a total of 226.95 kms of railway tracks, including three lines covering 3.97 kms from Dhaka to Gendaria.

Furthermore, the project involves the construction of 23.377 km of viaduct, 98 ramps, 60 major bridges, 272 minor bridges (culvert underpasses), and 29 level crossings.

The Padma Rail Link Project, funded by China, is being executed by China Railway Group Limited (CREC), with the Construction Supervision Consultant of the Bangladesh Army providing consultancy services.

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