Railways

PM orders renovation of rail bridges

MNA National Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday directed the Railways Ministry to properly repair shabby rail bridges across the country and take a project to this end.

“The old rail bridges will have to be repaired properly… I think all the old and worn-out rail bridges will have to be repaired after conducting a survey across the country,” she said.

The Prime Minister gave the directive while opening a number of development projects, including two water treatment plants, two bridges and several train services through a videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban.

Sheikh Hasina said if a separate project is undertaken to repair the old rail bridges, the government will approve it.

She said trains run at a very slow pace and take more time to reach their destinations due to the old and shabby bridges. Besides, the PM said, there are risks of accidents because of the old bridges.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh Railway can repair its tracks and bridges quickly with its own financing.

She regretted that previous governments had plans to close down train services under a golden-handshake programme and they shut down the train services on different routes.

“I think it was a suicidal decision.”

Sheikh Hasina said the government is setting up railway networks throughout the country as people travel through trains safely and comfortably at cheaper fares.

Talking about water treatment plants, the Prime Minister urged all to exercise austerity in using water as it takes huge money to purify water in treatment plants.

“You’ve to exercise austerity in using water and stop wasting water.”

About the country’s economic progress, the Prime Minister said it will not be possible to ensure overall development of a country by only making Dhaka-centric development.

“No country can be developed without socio-economic advancement of the grassroots people,” she said.

The train services opened by the Prime Minister on Sunday are commissioning of a pair of intercity new trains ‘Jamalpur Express’ on Tarakandi-Jamalpur-Dhaka route; route extension of ‘Dhalarchar Express’ (old Pabna Express) on Dhalarchar-Pabna-Rajshahi route and ‘Rajbari Express’ ( old Faridpur Express) on Pachuria-Faridpur-Bhanga route; and replacement of the coaches of ‘Udayan Express’ and ‘Paharika Express’ by newly-procured coaches on Chattagram-Sylhet-Chattogram route.

Besides, she opened Sheikh Russell Water Treatment Plant in Chattogram, Bangabandhu Water Treatment Plant in Khulna and two bridges– 575-metre bridge over the Titas River in Brahmanbaria and 456-metre bridge over the Kaliganga River in Manikganj.

The other projects are 12-hour transmission of BTV’s Chattogram centre programmes, and mobile apps-based ‘Palli Transaction’ for rendering digital financial services of Palli Sanchay Bank.

At the function, the Prime Minister exchanged views with beneficiaries and stakeholders of the projects through the videoconference.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md Tajul Islam, Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujon and former minister Matia Chowdhury MP were present on the dais.

PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus conducted the function, while Financial Institutions Division Senior Secretary Md Ashadul Islam, Local Government Division Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed, Information Secretary Kamrun Nahar and Railways Additional Secretary Md Mujibur Rahman made presentations over the projects implemented by their respective ministries.

Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki, Indonesian Ambassador to Bangladesh Rina P Soemarno, World Bank’s Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Mercy MiyangTembon and ADB country director for Bangladesh Manmohan Parakash were, among others, present.

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