Feasibility test ends 4yrs behind schedule
The project of establishing a railway link connecting the under-construction Bay Terminal of Chattogram seaport with the city's Halishahar area is still in limbo, due to delay in conducting the feasibility test.
The railway minister approved the project (for feasibility test) in 2018 and Bangladesh Railway wanted to complete it by March 31, 2019, according to project officials.
However, the study was only completed this June and sent to the ministry for evaluation, confirmed Md Hamidur Rahman, director of the project.
"If the ministry approves the study, then we will start working on preparing a Preliminary Development Project Proposal (PDDP) based on it," he added.
The BR authorities attributed the delay due to Covid-19 pandemic, as all works were suspended during that time.
The project was taken up by the railway to make the under-construction Bay Terminal more usable, increase revenue earnings of the BR, and reduce the cost of import-export, according to project officials.
As per the recently completed study, the rail link can be constructed with government's own funds instead of foreign financing.
Following this, BR contracted a joint venture consultancy firm named China Railway Design Corporation and Mazumdar Enterprises in 2018 to complete a feasibility study and prepare the detailed design of the project at a cost of Tk 3 crore.
But BR could not start the work on schedule due to a delay in study completion caused by the pandemic, said officials.
As part of the railway project, BR planned to build a 4km line at a cost of Tk 142 crore to connect the terminal with Chittagong Goods Port Yard (CGPY) at the port city's Halishahar area. But following the study, the BR officials said railway line will be 1.2km long.
Besides, BR earlier thought that they would need foreign finances for the project.
But as per the recently completed study, it can be constructed with government's own funds, disclosed project director Md Hamidur Rahman.
Mentionable, the Bay Terminal, which has a length of 6.15 kilometres, is being constructed on around 2,500 acres of land, stretching from near Chattogram Export Processing Zone to Rasmonighat in the Bay's Halishahar coast.