The Khulna-Mongla rail line project, which missed several completion deadlines, is now expected to be opened in July this year, according to project authorities.
“About 96 per cent of the construction of the 64.75-km railway line from Khulna to Mongla was completed in December last year. More progress has been made in the last few months. The work of entire project is expected to be completed by June this year. In July, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the railway line,” said project director Md Arifuzzaman.
With the opening of the rail line, Mongla, the country’s second-largest seaport, will be brought under rail connectivity after 73 years of its establishment. It is expected to expedite the economic activities of the Mongla seaport.
Mongla Port was established on December 1, 1950, in Bagerhat district in the southwestern part of the country. The port is located at the confluence of the Pashur River and the Mongla River, 48 kilometres south of Khulna city.
According to project officials, the railway link between Khulna and the Mongla seaport is the need of the hour for the transportation of goods.
To ensure the ease of doing business, the government embarked on the railway project worth Tk 3,800 crore some seven years ago.
The project work began in November 2016. Initially, the project was scheduled to be completed in May 2020. Unfortunately, the project has experienced both time and cost overruns.
With the opening of the rail service, trade and commerce with India, Nepal and Bhutan will be expanded. Due to the absence of a railway, there was a problem in transporting large containers of the port so far, said businessmen who use the port.
The Khulna-Mongla railway project was approved at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on December 21, 2010, but its work started in 2016.
The project is being implemented in three parts. Among them, package-1 rail line construction, package-2 rail-bridge over Rupsa River and package-3 telecommunication and signalling system said project officials.
Under these projects, the length of the railway track, including the main line, is 86.87km. Of these, 64.75km is a broad gauge railway. A 5.13-km rail bridge has been constructed on the Rupsha River. Around cent per cent of the work on the bridge has already been completed.
In addition, work on 31 small bridges has been completed. Of the 107 culverts, 105 have been completed. Construction of nine VUPs and 26 of the 29 LC gates have been completed, they said.
Mongla Port Authority Chairman Rear Admiral Mir Ershad Ali said once the project is implemented, there will be radical changes in the trade and commerce and communication in the southern district.