DHAKA, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has reportedly agreed to invest a big sum of money to give a new lease of life to Bangladesh Railway through adding more locomotives, wagons and other equipment.
The Manila-based lender is expected to provide 27.40 billion Taka for upgrading the struggling rail operator to meet a surging demand for the popular mode of mass transport, said the sources Thursday.
Under a 36.46-billion umbrella project, the ADB will provide the funds to the state-owned rail-service provider, they said.
Citing officials, leading local newspaper The Financial Express reported that the BR reels from a shortage of locomotives (engines), vans and wagons, which makes it lag far behind the requirement for smart operation and passenger services across the country.
The government over the last six to seven years has invested huge funds in improving its railway services, which is still a far cry, the sources said.
A senior BR official said the ADB has come forward with its larger support which is expected to improve the train services in Bangladesh within a couple of years.
"This project is a part of the ADB support. The development partner is also helping us to set up double-track line between Dhaka and Chittagong and a fresh line on Dohazari-Cox's Bazar (in south-east Bangladesh) -Ghundum (on Myanmar) route, procure carriages and locomotives, and improve the railway infrastructures," the unnamed official was quoted as saying by the Financial Express.
"We have recently sent the 36.46-billion-taka project proposal to the Planning Commission (PC) for getting approval," the BR official said.
Besides, the diesel-electric-locomotive workshop, DEMU workshop and central locomotive workshop will be upgraded under the ADB-supported project.
The railway official said the project is scheduled to be completed by June 2021. (1 U.S. dollar = 81 taka)