Dhaka seeks Delhi’s help to build bridge over river JamunaApril 12th, 2009 - 11:46 am ICT by IANS
Dhaka, April 12 (IANS) Dhaka has sought Delhi’s financial assistance to build a dedicated railway bridge over river Jamuna to facilitate the movement of Indian cargo trains to Gazipur, located north of the national capital.
Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain wrote to Delhi last month seeking credit for the construction of the bridge at a cost of $250 million, New Age newspaper said Sunday.
The proposed bridge aims at easing existing barriers to cargo train movement on the existing Jamuna bridge, a demand India has for some time been trying to press home for trade expansion in the region, ministry officials said.
At least 15 percent of the country’s import worth $20 billion in the past financial year came from India.
India emerged as the largest exporter thanks to high supply of rice to meet shortages caused by the November 2007 Cyclone Sidr.
Import through road and waterway are expected to increase further with the addition of cargo train services.
“The existing railway facilities on the Jamuna Bridge are limited in connection with the movement of heavy cargo trains,” said the Bangladesh Railway’s director general Belayet Hossain.
The bridge, which has already developed cracks, has limitations on safety issues, he said.
Although Dhaka allowed passenger trains from India to cross the bridge in 2008, it is against the movement of cargo trains on the bridge on safety grounds, he said.
Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty who signed the deal on passenger train services April 10, 2008, hoped cargo train services could begin in future.
Delhi has for long been urging Dhaka to allow the movement of cargo trains on the Jamuna Bridge so that Indian cargo trains could directly reach Gazipur.
Less than 35 km off Dhaka, Gazipur has witnessed rapid expansion of industrial and manufacturing activities in the past decade.
Local businessmen who import a substantial amount of raw materials and semi-finished goods from India also want warehousing services because of cost advantage.
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Tags: abul, capital communications, cyclone, hossain, india india, indian high commissioner, jamuna bridge, largest exporter, ministry officials, passenger train services, passenger trains, proposed bridge, railway bridge, rapid expansion, safety grounds, safety issues, sidr, trade expansion, train movement, waterway