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Cost of high-speed rail project

Govt looks for foreign fund

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Special Correspondent :
The government is looking for the source of financing to build the country's first high-speed train project.
Officials said, the high-speed rail link between capital Dhaka and the tourism city Cox's Bazar would be built at an estimated cost of Tk1,37,413 crore, the highest among all infrastructure projects undertaken by the ruling Awami League government.
Of the total project cost, Tk 96,300 crore has been estimated to mobilize from foreign sources and rest of the fund from the state coffer.  
Dedicated rail tracts would be built to operate the high-speed train-- popularly known as bullet train.   
"Major portion of the project cost would be met by foreign funds. We are now looking for funding sources," a high official of Bangladesh Railway (BR) told The New Nation on Friday on condition of anonymity.    He said the government would prefer concessional loans from donors and development partners to implement the project.    
Soucres said China has already shown keen interest to finnace the project on Government to Government initiative.   
When asked, The BR official said, "We are yet to decide on the source of financing for the high-speed rail project. The final decision will come from the government's highest policymaking body."
He also cited that the present government has undertaken the project as part of its efforts to construct a cutting edge infrastructure
Only 16 nations, including China, Japan, Spain, France and Germany, now have high-speed railways.
Neighbouring India recently undertook its first ever high-speed rail project (500-km) connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad at a cost of 1.08-trillion-rupee ($16.9-billion).
Japan is providing 81 per cent of the funding for the project, through a 50-year loan at 0.1 percent annual interest.
On May 31 last year, the BR signed a deal with China Railway Design Corporation and Majumder Enterprise of Bangladesh-to assess the feasibility of the proposed high-speed rail link and prepare its design.
"As per the agreement, the feasibility study and design will be completed by December 2019 at a cost of Tk 102.10 crore, from the government's fund," said the BR official.
He also said that the feasibility study began in June 2018.
BR has areday prepared a concept paper of project finalising routes of the proposed rail-link between Dhaka and Cox's Bazar.
The paper cited if the construction of the project starts from next year, the train would start running by 2025.
Currently, it takes about six hours to travel between the Dhaka and Chattogram (320km) and the bullet train with a maximum running speed of over 200 km per hour, aims to reduce the time by more than five hours.
Initially, the high-speed rail tract was set to be built betwwen Dhaka and Chattogram. Now, it would  be expanded to  Cox's Bazar as per the instruction from the Prime Minister.

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