ADB Confirms Funding for a Rail Project linking Myanmar to Bangladesh

The Asian Development Bank will fund most of a US$2.3 billion project to build a rail line that is to connect Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh’s southeastern beach resort, to neighbouring Myanmar as part of a larger Trans-Asian Railway network, a minister said in Bangladesh capital city Dhaka on Tuesday.

Bangladeshi Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told journalists that the Single line Dual-Gauge Rail Route Project was approved at a meeting of Bangladesh’s Executive Committee of the National Economic Council on Tuesday. He added that the rail line project for which the Manila-based lender will provide US$1.66 billion (BTN 13.12 billion) loan will set up rail links with Myanmar.

The ADB wants to fund it because of its tremendous prospect, he said. Some 100 km of rail lines will then connect Bangladesh with Myanmar through Ghumdhum border. The project kicked off back to 2011 when Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina  opened construction work on the rail line. It has then been put on hold due to lack of funds, according to China  news agency Xinhuanet.

“The ADB has been prioritising Bangladesh`s policy for development through regional connectivity,” the country`s Economic Relations Division (ERD) Joint Secretary Saifuddin Ahmed said in a report on Friday.

Myanmar and Bangladesh share a common border stretching over 300 km and both Bangladesh and Myanmar would then be on the future land connection linking Yunnan to Myanmar. The link will then connect India to Myanmar and would be part of the China-sponsored project of the Silk Road which looks at reconnecting together China with Western Asia, including the Indian sub-continent.