One of the main obstacles to a better railway system in Bangladesh is the poor maintenance of its 1970 miles (2992 kilometres) of track.
One of the main obstacles to a better railway system in Bangladesh is the poor maintenance of its 1970 miles (2992 kilometres) of track. This situation will be gradually overcome though with the beginning of a new joint venture between Bangladesh and the United Kingdom.
SYNOPSIS: The project is an aerial bucket line built by British experts at cost of 30 million pounds (about 60 million U.S. dollars) with a grant from the United Kingdom. The poor state of the railways is due partly to the lack of readily available ballast to shore up the tracks. Ballast used to come from Assam and West Bengal.
This changed with the discovery of a quarry in the north east of Bangladesh, at Bholaganj, at the foot of the Khasi Hills. The problem of getting the rock from the quarry to a suitable processing and distribution point was solved with the aerial bucket line, which runs 11 miles (17.6 kilometres) to Chhatak. After crushing to a suitable size, the ballast is washed and stacked. Before the introduction of the aerial bucket line, the rock used to be floated down the Dholai River in small boats - a system both expensive and time-consuming in view of the Bangladesh Railway's needs of 4.5 million cubic feet (127,350 cubic metres) of ballast annually.
It is estimated that the project will meet the railway's demands for the next 50 years. On Saturday (23 September), the project was officially inaugurated by the Senior Minister of Bangladesh, Mr. Mashiur Rahman. the British High Commissioner, Mr. Frank Miles, also attended the ceremony.