The development projects of two important segments of the Bangladesh railway network are now halted. The project of Joydebpur-Ishwardi section, vital for connectivity with the north-western part of this country, and Akhaura-Sylhet, crucial for the north-east, are supposed to be implemented by Chinese construction companies, and financed by China. However, stating various reasons, Chinese partners are now backing out.
These two sections are currently two chokeholds in the railway system -- connecting northern Bangladesh with the rest. The Joydebpur-Ishwardi section is insufficient for increased traffic, so the passenger trains have to wait for clearance. The Akhaura-Sylhet section on the other hand is rusty and unsafe for heavy transportation. During the Chinese president's visit to Dhaka in 2016, Bangladesh and China signed several MoUs for various projects, and these two projects involving around Tk 30,000 crore were among them.
So, why are the chinese backing out now? How will it impact Bangladesh?
Debjani Shyama discusses this issue with The Daily Star reporter Tuhin Shubhra Adhikary in Straight from Star Newsroom.