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Powering the Engines of Economic Growth in Bangladesh

Video | 8 February 2019

Under ADB’s South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation program, Bangladesh Railway is modernizing its infrastructure and rolling stock, while building connectivity with neighboring countries. Railway infrastructure has improved remarkably: double-tracking has increased railway capacity, while new railway bridges have reduced travelling time.

The ADB-Bangladesh partnership is helping boost sustainable economic growth and poverty-reduction in the country through the modernization of the railways.

Since 1973, ADB has provided loans totaling $1.7 billion for the rehabilitation and development of Bangladesh Railway.

Transcript

Bangladesh - One of the most densely populated countries in the world, Bangladesh is crisscrossed by many rivers.

The country’s transport network was weak and people had limited mobility.

The rapidly growing economy required a faster, more reliable and affordable transport system.

The British colonial government started railways in Bangladesh.

“When ADB opened its Resident Mission in Bangladesh, we went to ADB, and initially they gave us a loan of US$ 23 million,” says Qazi Md. Rafiqul Alam, Additional Director General of Infrastructure at Bangladesh Railway

“Using this loan we rebuilt our infrastructure, specially damaged roads, bridges, tracks, signaling, and made our railway lines operational.”

“Bangladesh Railway’s rolling stock is over-aged,” adds Md. Shamsuzzaman, Additional Director General for Rolling Stock at Bangladesh Railway.
“ADB has extended US $300 million and we are procuring locomotives as well as carriages.”

Since 1973, ADB has provided loans totaling $1,7 billion for the rehabilitation and development of Bangladesh Railway.

“Asian development bank is a trusted friend of Bangladesh, more specifically Bangladesh Railway,” says Md. Amzad Hossain, Director General, Bangladesh Railway.

“The role of Asian Development Bank could be termed as a game-changer, you see.“

Railway infrastructure has improved remarkably: double-tracking has increased railway capacity, while new railway bridges have reduced travelling time.

“Railways are the safest means of transport and it’s cheaper also,“ adds Md. Amzad Hossain, Director General, Bangladesh Railway.

His view is shared by railway commuters.

“I’ve been travelling by train but I have benefitted a lot since this double-line started from Dhaka,” says Masuda Choudhury, Entrepreneur and frequent commuter.

“Not only is my business running well, it is improving.”

Small businesses serving the commuters crowd are thriving.

“I sell fruit on the railway platform,” says Asad Miyan, a fruit vendor who runs a stall nearby Kamlapur Railway Station.

“This double line has increased passengers and I am able to make more money now.”

The railway has now become an alternative to congested roads.

“I used to take the bus to work every morning…but there’s lots of traffic on the way,”Tawhidul Hasan, a business executive and daily commuter.

“So I started taking the train. It’s a comfortable journey so I can get more time at my working place. There is a canteen inside so it’s quite refreshing.”

Bangladesh Railway is working to unify older metre gauge with the modern broad gauge lines.

This will help Bangladesh achieve country-wide and regional connectivity.

“The best thing happened due to this has been the facilitation of connectivity between eastern and western zones,” Qazi Md. Rafiqul Alam, Additional Director General for Infrastructure at Bangladesh Railway.

Under ADB’s SASEC program, Bangladesh Railway is working to build connectivity with neighboring countries. 

People now have better access to the market, education, medical services and economic opportunities. 

Railway development supports inclusive growth for vulnerable households, women and the disabled.

It provides a safe, comfortable and reliable means of transport for the people of Bangladesh.

“I see smiling faces all around, it feels like a festival of joy…come join me…let’s go together where the journey takes us,” a group of students sing in their native language.

The ADB-Bangladesh partnership is helping boost sustainable national economic growth and poverty-reduction in Bangladesh through:

  • Nationwide railway network with gauge unification;
  • Increased transport capacity and efficient operation;
  • Modernization and augmentation of rolling stock;
  • Safe operation with proper maintenance practices; and
  • Sector reform for good governance and financial sustainability.