A freight train of Bangladesh Railway successfully completed a test run from Faridpur’s Bhanga station crossing the Padma Bridge on Saturday (September 16, 2023). The goods train left Bhanga station at 7:40 am and reached the Mawa Station via Padma Bridge and again returned to Bhanga Station, said Project director of Faridpur Rail Project, Brig: General Syed Ahmed.“ Five bogies carried 350 metric tonnes of stone during the trial run and the speed limit was 80 kilometers per hour,” he said. Locals block Hili rail track demanding restoration of stopover of all trainsPresident of Faridpur Chamber of Commerce Nazrul Islam said people will be able to transport their goods using the train service at a low cost.Earlier, the test run of a passenger train from Dhaka’s Kamalapur Railway Station to Faridpur’s Bhanga Station was successfully completed on September 7. Test run: Train reaches Faridpur’s Bhanga from Dhaka via Padma BridgePrime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the rail link on October 10.
A special train of Bangladesh Railway successfully completed a test run from Dhaka to Bhanga station in Faridpur crossing the Padma Bridge via Mawa on Thursday. This test run marks a significant step in preparation for the grand opening scheduled for next month. Read: Dhaka-Bhanga railway track via Padma bridge all set for trial run on Thursday The trial train took two hours and 10 minutes to cross the 82-km-long railway line. The train left Dhaka’s Kamalapur Railway Station at 10:07am and crossed the Padma Bridge at 11:34 am. The special train reached Bhanga station at 12:17pm. The trial train was operated by locomaster Enamul Haque and assistant locomaster MA Hossain. Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan was among the passengers of the test train. Read: Elevated expressway marks first of 9 megaprojects to be inaugurated before election Deputy Minister for Water Resources Enamul Haque Shamim, Awami League Presidium Member Shajahan Khan, Jatiya Sangsad Chief Whip Noor-e-Alam Chowdhury, Railway Secretary Dr Humayun Kabir, Bangladesh Railway Director General Md Kamrul Ahsan, Padma Bridge Rail Link Project Director Afzal Hossain, members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Railways and senior railway officials were present. Read: ICC World Cup Trophy travels to Padma Bridge Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said Prime Minister will inaugurate the Padma Bridge rail link project on October 10.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Friday said the Awami League government has already proved that it believes in deeds and not words by implementing metro rail and Padma bridge. “Due to the government's development programmes for the country, AL's public support has increased more than before,” he said this while visiting the old trade fair ground on the eve of the inauguration of the Kaola- Farmgate section of Dhaka Elevated Expressway. Read : BNP tries to shift blame of enforced disappearances, killings to government: Quader PM Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the expressway on Saturday. It will then be opened to commuters on Sunday, according to project officials. “AL government has proved through development activities that it keeps its words,” added Quader, also the General Secretary of the ruling party. Read : BNP’s 45th founding anniversary Friday "Far from toppling the government, the BNP is worried about its own existential crisis," the AL leader said. “Awami League is on alert to protect the lives and property of the people against terrorism or violence in the name of movement,” he said. Read : Conspirators getting ready before next election: Obaidul Quader BNP leaders and workers do not have faith in the party’s programmes. It is not possible to wage a movement with black flags, added Quader. "It becomes a mourining procession."
Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader today said the Padma Bridge has "overshadowed" BNP’s movement of last 14 years. “The Padma Bridge, a symbol of Bangladesh's capabilities, has expanded the horizon of the country's economic potential,” he said at a press briefing at the Setu Bhaban in the capital this morning, marking the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of the bridge. The road, transport and bridges minister said Tk 798.23 crore was collected as toll from the Padma Multipurpose Bridge in one year since its inauguration. Also read: Padma bridge project cost increased further by Tk 1,117 crore “Since the inauguration of the bridge, a total of 56,75,000 vehicles have used the bridge till 12 am today,” he said. “On an average, 15,500 vehicles use the bridge daily.” The minister hoped the amount of toll collection would hit Tk 800 crore by this afternoon. Calling the bridge a “national treasure,” Quader called on everyone to protect and preserve it. Also read: Padma Bridge loan: Bridges Division pays 316.02 crore as 2nd two installments He said the Bangladesh Bridge Authority will have to repay the loan in 35 years. “Around Tk 632.94 crore in loan have already been repaid in four installments,” Quader said. Bridges Division Secretary Manzoor Hossain, Padma Bridge Project Director Shafiqul Islam, and senior officials of the Bridges Division, Bridge Authority, and Bridge Construction Project were present at the press briefing. Also read: Sheikh Hasina ignored all the conspiracies to build Padma Bridge: President Shahabuddin
The Bridges Division on Monday (June 19, 2023) paid Tk 316.02 crore as third and fourth installments of the loan taken for construction of Padma Bridge. Bridges Division Secretary Manjur Hossain handed over a cheque of Tk 316,02,69,093 to the Senior Secretary of Finance Division around 10 am in presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said a press release of Road Transport and Bridges Ministry. Read: Repayment of Padma Bridge loan starts with Tk 316.91 crore given to govt Road Transport and Bridge Minister Obaidul Quader, cabinet members, secretary, principal secretary to the prime minister were also present at that time. With this, the Bridges Division paid a total of Tk 632,93,36,6142 to the government in installments. Read: Tk 660.24 cr toll collected from Padma Bridge till April 25: Quader Earlier on April 5, the Bridges Division began the repayment of the loan with Tk 316,90,97,049 from the revenue it earned as toll collection from the bridge. The loan was taken from Bangladesh Bank at a low interest rate under an agreement signed between the Finance Division and the Bangladesh Bridge Authority. Read: Padma Bridge Rail Link: 75% complete, on course for June 2024 handover In line with a revised agreement with the finance division on 26 July 2022, the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) will repay the loan in 35 years through 140 installments (four installments each year). The repayment will continue up to the fiscal year 2056-57. The authority collected tolls worth Tk 779,75,87,000 from the bridge till June 18,2023.
The Dhaka-Mawa part of the Dhaka to Bhanga rail line via the Padma Bridge will be ready for train operation by this September. Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan shared this after inaugurating the Bhanga-Jashore rail line construction. “Train operation on the 81 km Dhaka-Bhanga part will start in September,” he said. Furthermore, Dhaka-Jashore rail line will be ready for train operation by June, next year. Also read: Padma Bridge Rail Link: 75% complete, on course for June 2024 handover Currently, construction work is going on in 14 stations of the railway. According to the project information, 20 stations are being constructed on the line from Kamalapur to Jashore under the Padma Rail Connection Project. Of these, 14 stations will be new. The six old stations will be revamped to make them up-to-date. The railway line was constructed in three parts (plus a 3 km link being built between Dhaka and Gandaria): a 37 km Gandaria-Mawa section, a 42 km Mawa-Bhanga section, and an 87 km Bhanga Junction-Jashore section. Some 43.2 km of loops, siding and Y-connections bring the total track length to 215.2 km. Also read: Padma bridge rail link completed: officials The Padma Bridge was opened for vehicular movement on June 26 last year. On August 20, nearly two months after the inauguration of the Padma Bridge, the railway minister inaugurated the work of laying the railway line at the Jazira end of the main bridge. According to the project sources, the Padma Bridge rail link project was estimated to cost Tk 34,988.86 crore at the time of approval of the DPP in 2016. The term was set for December 2022. But in April 2019, the cost of the project was increased by Tk 4,269.27 crore and the cost was fixed at Tk 39,258.13 crore. The ECNEC meeting also approved the proposal to extend the project till June 2024. China Exim Bank is financing the project on a G2G basis. Of this, China's Exim Bank will provide loan assistance of about Tk 21,000 crore.The final loan agreement was signed with China in April 2018. The remaining money would be spent from government funds. The project is being constructed by Chinese contractor CREC. Also Read: PM opens Padma Bridge rail link work
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday (June 7, 2023) said that the World Bank has realised that they had brought false allegations against the government of Bangladesh regarding corruption in the Padma Bridge project. “The World Bank has realised that they brought false allegations against us,” she said while responding to a tabled question from Jatiya Party MP elected from Dhaka Syed Abu Hossain. With reference to her recent visit in the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington DC, Hasina said that during a discussion there, she once again expressed her resentment regarding the World Bank’s purposely bringing false allegations of corruption in the Padma Bridge construction project. “ (In my speech) I firmly mentioned that I will never patronise any evil purpose, which will diminish the dignity of the people of Bangladesh,” she said. Read more: External forces won’t put BNP in power, they would rather use it against govt: PM Hasina In reply to a query of Awami League MP Kazim Uddin, the Prime Minister informed the House that the amount of foodgrains stocked in the country at present (as of May) in the country is 16.27 lakh tonnes. “Of the total foodgrains, the amount of rice is 12.25 lakh tonnes, wheat is 3.96 lakh tonnes and paddy is 9,000 tonnes,” she said. Hasina, also the Leader of the House, said in the current boro season, a total of 15.10 lakh tonnes of foodgrains including 4 lakh tonnes of rice and 12.50 lakh tonnes of rice have been set as a target to increase the food stock. The domestic wheat procurement target has been set at 1 lakh tonnes for the financial year 2022-23. Read more: PM Hasina remembers Bangabandhu on historic six-point day The Prime Minister said that 6.34 lakh tonnes of rice and 6.80 lakh tonnes of wheat have been imported in the current financial year so far (as of 23 May, 2023) to ensure maximum food security in the country. In response to a query from Awami League MP Ali Azam, Hasina said that ‘Geological Survey and Seismic Survey’ activities have been strengthened in new areas of the country. While replying to a query of JP MP Mashiur Rahman Ranga, the Prime Minister said that Bangladesh will not get duty-free and quota-free benefits for exporting goods to India after 2026 as a result of its removal from the list of least developed countries. “This may have a negative impact on the export of goods to India,” she added. Read more: Electricity problem to end in 10-15 days: PM Hasina Taking this into consideration, initiatives have been taken to execute the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India, the premier said. “It is still in the negotiation stage. If CEPA is signed, Bangladesh's exports to India are likely to increase by 190 percent. It is expected to increase the GDP by 1.72 percent,” she hoped. In response to a query of AL MP Momtaz Begum, the premier said that currently there are 1.20 crore expatriates working in 174 countries of the world. Read more: PM mourns death of valiant freedom fighter Nurul Islam Khan
President Mohammed Shahabuddin on Wednesday said Sheikh Hasina ignored all the conspiracies to build Padma bridge, which is now a symbol of Bangali nation's pride and self-reliance. The President told UNB on his way back to Dhaka after paying tribute to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Raman at Tungipara this afternoon. Shahabuddin said, "The number of conspiracies involved in the construction of this bridge cannot be described in a word." He said that Sheikh Hasina could ignore all those conspiracies because of her honesty, dedication and patriotism, she succeeded in building this bridge. As a former commissioner of the ACC, Shahabuddin played an important role to deal with the so-called corruption conspiracy of the Padma Bridge project. The President said, "Standing at this Padma bridge today on the way from Tungipara to Dhaka, I am observing this charming form of Padma for a very short time and thinking about the contribution of Bangabandhu's daughter, leader Sheikh Hasina." Due to this self-financed Padma Bridge, Shahabuddin said Bangladesh and the Bengali nation are known to the whole world as a self-reliant and dignified nation. He also showed his due respect to the prime minister for her uncompromising and farsighted leadership to finish the mega project. Shahabuddin who took oath on Monday ( April 24) as the 22nd President also recalled the contribution of Bangabandhu's daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to this end and expressed his sincere thanks to her. Mentioning that the mausoleum site of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Tungipara has turned into a holy place with the passage of time, he said "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not only the leader of Bengali nation, but also the nationalist leader of all Bengali speaking people across the world," He said that the place where he has been lying has turned into a shrine with the passage of time. Read more: President pays tribute to Bangabandhu at Tungipara Valiant freedom fighter Mohammed Shahabuddin said, "After August 15, 1975 while I was fleeing to escape arrest by the then military dictator, one day I was listening to a programme of the Akashvani Kolkata Radio when Devdulal Bandyopadhyay was the presenter". "Those who killed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and subsequently they buried him in remote Tungipara area in a very callous and ruthless manner . . . That careless and neglected burial ground will one day become a holy place for the Bengali people across the world," the President quoted Devdulal as saying. The President said Devdulal precisely pointed out about the place as the burial site of the nationalist leader has not only become a holy place for the Bangali nation, but also for the Bengali speaking people across the world.
The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved a total of 12 development projects including a revised one to raise the cost of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Construction by Tk 2412.13 crore and extend the timeframe till June 2024. The overall estimated cost of the 12 projects is Tk 19,598.84 crore. Only additional costs of four revised projects were counted here. The approval came from the Ecnec meeting chaired by its chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e Banglanagar area. “A total of 15 projects were placed before today's meeting. Of them, 12 projects got approval and two were deferred. And the rest one got time extension only,” said Planning Minister MA Mannan while briefing reporters. Of the 12 approved projects, eight are new and the rest four are revised ones. Among the total estimated cost, Tk 13,203.66 crore will come from the foreign sources as project assistance, while Tk 6,260.72 crore from the GoB fund and the rest Tk 134.46 crore from the fund of an organisation concerned, said the Planning Secretary Satyajit Karmaker. Regarding the reasons behind the rise of cost of Padma Multipurpose Bridge Construction Project, member of Physical Infrastructure Division of the Planning Commission Dr Mohammad Emdad Ullah Mian said the VAT rate has risen to 15 percent now from 10 percent as well as the prices of construction materials for river trainings and the price of dollar went up. As per the project factsheet, the main work of Padma Bridge project has already been completed. But now the revision of the project is required to complete the remaining ancillary works and the payment of contractors’ dues. So, the project can be approved under this consideration, he said. In terms of cost, the largest three new projects approved in the Ecnec meeting are “Programme on Agricultural and Rural Transformation for Nutrition, Entrepreneurship and Resilience in Bangladesh Project,” involving an estimated cost of Tk 6,910.94 crore; “Bangladesh Road Safety Project” with Tk 4,988.14 crore; and “Collection of 2 Crude Oil Mother Tankers and 2 Mother Bulk Carrier Ships on the basis of G2G Project” with Tk 2,620.77 crore. The agricultural (PARTNER) project will be implemented in all the unions of 495 upazilas of the country’s 64 districts by June 2028, mainly for transformation of the traditional agricultural system into commercial agriculture and diversification in the food grains production. Other major objectives of the project are development of agricultural entrepreneurs for the export of agricultural products and expansion of climate resilient agro-food value-chains. Also Read: Tk 4323-crore project to improve disaster preparedness, 7 others get Ecnec nod The Bangladesh Road Safety project will be implemented in all the upazilas of the country by June 2028 in a bid to reduce road accidents and damages as well as enhance the capacity of government agencies concerned for ensuring road safety. The other new projects are “Improving Computer and Software Engineering Tertiary Education Project (ICSETEP)” involving Tk 1,219.80 crore; "Project for Protection of Charkaua, Chandmari, Jagua, Lamchari and Charmonai Areas in Sadar Upazila of Barisal District from Kirtankhola River Erosion (Phase-1) with Tk 512.92 crore; “Establishment of Institute of Nanotechnology (in Savar) Project” with Tk 380.78 crore; ‘’Building Climate Resilient Livelihoods in the Vulnerable Landscapes in Bangladesh (BCRL) Project” with Tk 76.06 crore; and “Safer Cyberspace for Digital Bangladesh: Enhancing National & Regional Digital Investigation Capability of Bangladesh Police Project” with Tk 59.08 crore. The three other revised projects are “Construction of Dhaka-Narayanganj dual gauge railway line in parallel to the existing meter gauge railway line (1st revised) Project” with additional cost of Tk 279.69 crore (now cost is Tk 658.35 crore); “Reconstruction of Mymensingh Central Jail (1st revised) Project” with extra cost of Tk 112.54 crore (now the total cost increased to Tk 240.15 crore); and “Reinstallation and Improvement of Level Crossing Gates of the Eastern Region of Bangladesh Railway (3rd revised) Project” with additional cost of Tk 25.99 crore ( now cost is Tk 130.50 crore). In the Ecnec meeting, the Prime Minister directed the authorities concerned to ensure the facilities in the country’s jails to run the virtual court. She made this directive during the discussion about the first revision of Reconstruction of Mymensingh Central Jail Project.
Road, Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Thursday (April 06, 2023) told parliament that Tk 603.76 crore tolls have been collected from Padma Bridge till March since its inauguration on June 25, 2022. The minister said this in reply to a tabled question from Awami League MP Benjir Ahmed elected from Dhaka-20. Quader said after the launch of Bangabandhu Bridge on June 23, 1998, Tk 7697.71 crore have been collected as toll as of March. In response to another question from Morshed Alam, a lawmaker from Noakhali-2, Quader said that about 6,000 buses of various transport companies including Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) ply Dhaka city. Also read: Repayment of Padma Bridge loan starts with Tk 316.91 crore given to govt He also said E-ticketing is available on a number of BRTC routes. Apart from this, e-ticketing has been launched in 3,300 buses of 69 companies out of 97 private transport companies under the supervision of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association, he said. Quader informed the House that Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) is monitoring these activities. He said that soon the e-ticketing system will be introduced in the buses of rest of the companies. Read More: Govt to assist Bangabazar businesses to recover from fire damages: PM Hasina In reply to another query, Quader said that currently there is no research programme to reduce road accidents in the country. With Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair, the question-answer session of today’s parliament sitting was placed on the table.