Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– The government has approved five railway development schemes to improve cross-border railway communications between Bangladesh and India, using New Delhi’s US$1.0 billion credit line, officials said.

Chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government’s highest project approval body, ECNEC, on Thursday endorsed the Tk8.37 billion plan where India will offer BDT 5.91 billion in loans.

The government will procure 10 broad-gauge locomotives for Bangladesh Railway at a cost of Tk2.09 billion, 125 passenger coaches at BDT 3.53 billion, 180 fuel-oil carrying tank wagons and six brake vans at BDT 1.78 billion and 50 metre-gauge flat wagons and five brake vans at BDT 310 million, the Financial Express (FE), a local newspaper, reported quoting Planning commission officials.

On the domestic front, the executive committee of the national economic council (ECNEC) okayed BDT 660 million Jurain rail-crossing and overpass construction in the capital where the Indian government would lend out BDT 560 million.

On August 7 this year, India confirmed the credit line for Bangladesh mainly for establishing transit and transshipment between the two neighboring countries.

The Bangladesh government has already identified 14 projects and most of the projects will be implemented to develop railway, road and marine communications.

The meeting also approved six other projects totalling BDT 11.56 billion including power distribution systems up-gradation projects in rural areas, modification of the government-owned sugar mills, agricultural and infrastructure development schemes.

It also endorsed two electricity distribution line expansion projects in three divisions. The project costs are estimated at BDT 7.0 billion.

BBN/SI/AD-14Sept10-2:02 am (BST)