Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government will take proper measures to establish rail connectivity between Cox’s Bazar and other parts of the country.
“We will take measures to smoothen journey to Cox’s Bazar from entire Bangladesh (through rail connectivity),” she said while opening the rail line along with the iconic Cox’s Bazar Railway Station unveiling a plaque at the newly constructed rail station here.
The prime minister said the countrymen even she herself are now eagerly waiting to see rail from Cox’s Bazar to Panchagar, Rajshahi, southern part of the country, Sundarban.
With a tone of fun, she also said, “Why the Gopalganj and Tungipara will be left (from the railway connectivity). That means all Bangladesh will be connected with the Cox’s Bazar.”
She said the people of the country now can feel proud for establishing the railway connectivity with Cox’s Bazar.
“Today, the Cox’s Bazar is linked with the railway connectivity. This is the day of feeling proud,” she said.
The prime minister said she was really very much pleased as she in person could present at the inaugural ceremony of Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar Rail Line.
“I have kept my promise with inaugurating the railway. This was a longstanding demand of this region. The demand was met today,” she added.
The new rail track ushers new hope in strong footing of country’s economy with boosting tourism, industrialisation, business and trade as well, she said.
Briefly describing her government’s initiatives to upgrade the rail service, speed and transportation, she said, “We have already taken measures to this end and we will definitely implement those.”
She went on saying: “In the next two or three years the railway service, speed and transportation will be world class.”
The prime minister said the newly constructed six-storey Cox’s Bazar Railway Station is the best one in the country in terms of its aesthetic beauty and facilities.
She however asked all people to keep the railway station and the rail neat and clean.
The much awaited 102km Chattogram’s Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar Rail Line was constructed at a cost of Taka 18034.47 crore opening a new era in railway connectivity in the country.
After opening the train line, Sheikh Hasina took a ride on a train from Cox’s Bazar to Ramu after buying ticket for herself.
The train started journey after the premier blew whistle and waved flags.
While giving interviews with the news media, the prime minister said her government has been doing every development projects including the mega schemes to ensure a beautiful and prosperous Bangladesh for the future generations.
She, as well, extended pleasantries to her co-passengers during the train journey.
Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director Edimon Ginting and Secretary of the Railways Ministry Dr. Md. Humayun Kabir spoke at the inaugural function.
A number of ministers including Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, senior Awami League (AL) leaders and other dignitaries were present.
A video documentary on the activities of Bangladesh Railway and the Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar Rail Line project was screened at the function.
Earlier, on her arrival at the railway station, the prime minister was welcomed with traditional dance performances by the local artistes.
With the inauguration of the railway station, Cox’s Bazar, having the world’s largest sandy beach, has come under the rail connectivity, 133 years after the first initiative was taken during the British period.
An intercity train on Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar route will start operation on December 1 as the Bangladesh Railway has already fixed its schedule and fare.
The name of the train has not been fixed yet.
The train will take approximately 8 hours and 10 minutes to reach Cox’s Bazar from Dhaka with stopping at two stations — Dhaka airport and Chattogram.
The train will leave Dhaka at 10:30pm and reach Cox’s Bazar at 6:40am while it will leave Cox’s Bazar at 1:00pm and will reach Dhaka at 9:10pm.
The fare for a non-AC Shovan chair from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar is Tk 345 while the fare for an AC chair is Tk 656.
Sheikh Hasina, also President of the Awami League (AL) said her party knows how to create while the BNP and its allies only know how to destroy.
“They (BNP and its allies) only know how to destroy and they don’t know how to create. We create and they destroy,” she said.
The prime minister came down heavily on the BNP-Jamaat alliance saying they don’t see the huge development carried out by her government in the last 14 years.
She suggested the BNP-Jamaat alliance treating their eyes at the National Institute of Opthomlogy which was also built by her government.
Referring to arson violence committed by the BNP-Jamaat, in which people were burnt to death, she said that they are actually blind in heart as their hearts are filled with darkness.
“Those who can kill people through arson attack, violence and burn buses, trucks, trains, they are not visually impaired rather their hearts are filled with darkness,” she said.
She asked the countrymen to remain vigil about BNP and its allies.
“So everyone should be cautious about these people,” she said.
The prime minister sounded a note of warnings against the arson violence and destruction, saying that destructiveness and burning people alive will not be tolerated anymore.
“We will not allow them (BNP) anymore to destroy and burn people alive,” she said.
The prime minister said her government has done everything possible for the overall development of Bangladesh in the last almost 15 years that included the development of railways.
She said her government has attached topmost priority to the railways development with constructing new rail routes, repairing and reconstructing old tracks, purchasing modern locomotives as commoners can travel through train at cheapest rate.
The premier said the railways had always been deprived of development during the BNP-Jamaat and their like minded government.
Khaleda Zia had stopped the Khulna-Mongla rail line, she said, adding that they have started the rail line with Indian LoC and inaugurated it with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The prime minister said while constructing Bangabandhu Bridge over Jamuna River, the World Bank told that rail link would not be viable over the bridge.
“The interesting thing is, now rail is so much viable and World Bank gave us proposal that they would build a separate rail bridge over Jamuna River,” she said.
She mentioned that she accepted that proposal at once.
“Bangladesh is ours, we know it very well, and we know what development the country needs. One or two persons coming from abroad will lecture on us and give us ideas and proposals, it will not work,” she said.