The railway ministry has opposed to running the container train service from India to Dhaka Inland Container Depot (ICD) as there are load restrictions on the Bangabandhu Multipurpose Bridge. At a meeting on railway connectivity held on April 10, Indian Railways adviser Anita Barik requested the Bangladesh Railway authorities to facilitate the transportation of container trains up to the Dhaka ICD.
Earlier, the authorities concerned had a trial run on the Bangabandhu Multipurpose Bridge and suspected that the bridge may be vulnerable to collapse if they run container trains on it. At present, Bangladesh Railway (BR) authorities have suspended plying of cargo trains on the bridge.
Railway ministry secretary Md Mofazzel Hossain told The Independent that it is impossible to run container trains on the bridge, which can manage only passenger trains at present. “We are going to construct three more inland container depots at Iswardi and Khulna. We are also planning to expand the existing container shed in Benapole to ensure facilities of container handling,” he said.
The railway secretary said the existing Kamlapur ICD is likely to be shifted if the authorities implement ’multimodal’ transport hubs.
At the meeting on April 10, the Indian Railways adviser requested the Bangladesh Railway authoritries to facilitate the transportation of the container trains up to the Dhaka ICD with the permissible load on the Bangabandhu Multipurpose Bridge. “Bangladesh Railway’s goods-laden trains are running on the bridge at a certain speed and with load restrictions. Indian container trains should also be allowed to ply with the same restrictions, which will reduce congestion at the Benapole border,” she said.
Sources said the prescribed speed limit of trains on the bridge was 40 km/hr initially. But after cracks developed on the bridge, it was reduced to 20 km/hr.
The government is going to build a railway bridge just beside the existing Bangabandhu Bridge on the Jamuna river to provide smooth and speedy rail communication, especially to run container trins. The Bangladesh Railway has already conducted a feasibility study with financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for constructing the proposed rail bridge by 2023.