DHAKA, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the China-financed Padma bridge rail link project by unveiling its foundation plaque at a ceremony in Munshiganj on the outskirts of capital Dhaka Sunday.
She expressed her deep satisfaction over the bridge project.
The construction of the multipurpose road-rail bridge, undertaken by several Chinese companies, is the largest and most challenging infrastructure project in the country's history.
The rail will be built on the lower deck of Bangladesh's largest bridge of Padma which is being built by China Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited.
Bangladesh in May signed a nearly 3-billion-U.S. dollar loan deal with China's Exim Bank to construct the Padma Bridge rail link which is among the eight projects under direct supervision of the Fast Track Project Monitoring Committee headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Bangladeshi Railway Minister Mujibul Haque said the 168 km-long rail line linking Dhaka and western district Jessore will be a major freight and passenger transport line in the country.
China Railway Group Limited is implementing the project under the China (government to government) G2G arrangement.
The Engineering Corps of Bangladesh Army and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology are consultants on the rail project.
Haque said the rail project, will cut the traveling time from Dhaka to Kolkata, the capital of Indian state of West Bengal, by about five hours.
According to a project paper, the Padma Bridge, when completed, will be one of Bangladesh's major transport corridors linking Dhaka to the country's south and west, as well as linking Bangladesh with India, Nepal and Bhutan.
The bridge will enhance regional trade and collaboration along the Asian Highway No. 1 and the Trans-Asian railway network.