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Barishal-southern region rail connectivity underway

Published : 02 Sep 2019 08:38 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 05:17 PM

The preparatory works of establishing railway connectivity between Barisal and the rest of the southern region of the country is underway. At present, the consultancy organisations are conducting feasibility study for the 211.5 km railroad tracks from Bhanga Upazila of Barishal to Payra of Patuakhali, and exchanging views with the people who are likely to lose their land and other assets due to acquisition of land for the project.

Consultancy organisation Development and Safe Guard Consultant (DSC) is conducting these preparatory activities for the project. After completing the preparatory tasks, report will be sent to the government’s authorities concerned. Action plan for construction of the rail line will be finalized on the basis of those reports, sources said.

The core plan of the project is to construct a single-lane railway. However, land acquisition will be done in such a way that no new land acquisition will be needed, if necessary, to construct another railway track in future beside the proposed one. The width of acquired land will be100 meters or 328 feet wide.

A junction is being constructed at Bhanga for the railway. There will be 11 stations at Tekerhat, Madaripur, Gournadi, Dehergoti (airport), Barisal Sadar (Kashipur), Bakerganj, Patuakhali, Amtoli, Payra Port, Payra Airport and Kuakata. There might also be sub-stations. On the other hand, several hundred small to medium sized bridges and culverts will be constructed beside eight large bridges to connect the railways. Sarwar Jahan Partho, adviser to the consultancy firm DSC, told media that the map of the railway from Bhanga to Payra has already been finalised. However, the map of Kuakata station has not yet been finalized. 

The consulting firm started working nine months ago on a two-year contract. The field level work started from May 25 of this year. Sources said consultancy firm’s survey has detected more than 3000 infrastructures on 100 km path from Pangasia of Kalkini to Dopdopiya of Barishal of the proposed 211.5km railroad. These include individually owned as well as community properties. The number of structures in the whole project is expected to be closer to seven thousand.

However, senior adviser to the consulting firm Aktarul Islam Khan said the government would relocate the mosques, temples, cemeteries, crematoriums and community properties within this 212 km track. Apart from this, after acquisition of land for the project, no government office will be able to withhold the money if the person who owns the land has proper documents. Therefore, everyone should keep the documents of their land fully organized, added.

According to the Land Acquisition Act, all owners will be paid their dues within a reasonable time. Keeping in mind the tradition of the region, the railway station of Barisal has been designed like a Hilsa fish. The surveys have also found that all the people of the southern region have shown positive attitude about the proposed railroad as they think it will improve the transport system of the region as well their standard of living.

Although the people who are likely to lose their land and other properties because of the proposed railroad have some questions in their mind, they have spoken in favour of giving away their land.