Yet another deadline missed

 The railways authorities aimed to start operating trains on Mawa-Bhanga section through Padma Bridge on the same day as the opening of the long-cherished bridge for the public.

However, when it was almost certain that they would not be able to meet the target, the authorities last year said they would try to start the operations on Dhaka-to-Bhanga section within December this year.

The authorities are now saying they would not be able to meet the revised target as well, mainly due to the pandemic and delay in shifting utilities from project areas.

"As per the new plan, we will try to start the operation [on Dhaka-Bhanga section] targeting March 26 next year, our Independence Day," said Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan yesterday.

"In case we miss the deadline, we will start the operation by June next year," the minister told reporters while visiting the Padma Bridge Rail-link Project.

The entire route from Dhaka to Jashore would be opened by June 2024, he said, adding that installation of railway tracks on the lower section of the bridge is likely to start in July after the opening of the bridge, he said.

The bridge is expected to be inaugurated in late next month.

The double-decker Padma Bridge -- with roadway on top and railway on bottom -- is being constructed by Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) at the cost of around Tk 30,000 crore.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Railway (BR) is implementing the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project, building a 169km rail line to connect the capital with Jashore via the Padma Bridge at a cost of TK 39,246.80 crore.

Although the revised deadline of the project is 2024, the authorities planned to operate trains on the Mawa-Bhanga section, terming it a priority, on the day of the bridge's opening.


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