China's help sought for rail link with Myanmar
Bangladesh has sought financial and technical assistance from China to expand the country's railway network up to Gundum of Myanmar and link it up with the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR).
The government has already sent a letter to the Chinese government for assistance in laying about 130-kilometer railway tracks from Dohazari in Chittagong, communications ministry sources said.
Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain in his recent visit to China held talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao about the assistance along with four other projects.
He also talked to key government officials of China's Yunnan Province on April 23 since China is interested in setting up railway network between Kunming City in Yunnan Province and Chittagong via Myanmar.
Talking to The Daily Star, the minister said, "I hope to receive a positive response from the Chinese government in this regard."
Abul Hossain said if the project is implemented, Bangladesh will first get connected to Myanmar which has to construct a railway tunnel through its hilly areas to get linked with Kunming in China.
As part of the TAR agreement that Bangladesh signed on November 10, 2007, a railway track will be laid from Dohazari to Gundum in the Arakan state of Myanmar via Ramu in Cox's Bazar.
The TAR, a project of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), is aimed at creating an integrated freight railway network across Europe and Asia.
The TAR will link Bangladesh with six East Asian countries--Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore--as well as with European countries via Turkey.
It will also connect the country with India at two points. For that, the government will lay a separate rail track through the proposed Padma bridge-1 at Mawa, ministry officials said.
Myanmar has already been working on a railway track in the Arakan state to be linked with Bangladesh, sources said.