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Padma rail link loan deal soon

The Daily Dawn

The Exim Bank of China, the main lending authority for the construction of Padma Rail Link, has sent a draft of the loan agreement to Economic Relations Division in Dhaka.
A letter with the draft, received in Dhaka on Friday, said the bank will provide $3 billion out of $4 billion for the project. The remaining $1 billion would be provided from the government treasury.
The funds will be used to build the 172-kilometre railway track from Dhaka to Jessore.
The copy of the draft agreement was earlier approved by the authorities concerned of China. They are Commerce Ministry of China, Chinese Exim Bank and State Council of China.
The date for signing the agreement will be fixed soon after the evaluation of the draft agreement by the ERD.
Once in operation, the rail bridge will enable transport to travel to Khulna from Dhaka in only three and a half hours.
Earlier in November 2016, a railway ministry letter sent to the Prime Minister’s Office said the rail ink project must be rolled out in January 2017 for launch in 2019 along with the Padma Bridge.
The rail communications must start simultaneously with the launch of the bridge, as per orders from the prime minister, according to the letter.
Later in December, the PMO issued a letter to the ERD asking it to convey the matter to Chinese authorities and sign the loan agreement with no delay.
The loan agreement is among the 27 deals, including 12 loan and mutual agreements, Bangladesh and China signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Dhaka visit in 2016.
The Padma bridge project is due to be complete in 2020, as per latest adjustments that extended the deadline by two years.

Earlier, railway minister Mujibul Haque said the government undertook the project to revolutionise communications in the south-western districts.

To this end, an Ecnec meeting approved the Tk 34,988-crore project.

Sources familiar with the project said funding issue slowed down land acquisition process.

In the first stage, the government acquired land in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Shariatpur, Madaripur and parts of Faridpur.

Project sources said a new broad-gauge line would be set up from Dhaka to Jessore in four sections. The government plans to start the rail services with the opening of the bridge after completing works from Mawa to Bhanga.BD Post 

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