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Trans-Asian railway plan runs into
Subject: Trans-Asian railway plan runs into problems
Trans-Asian railway plan runs into problems
>From the Asian Age Newspaper
4th June 1999
Dhaka, June 3: A question mark hangs over the proposed Trans-Asian
Railway with India and Bangladesh failing to reach a consensus over its
The problem arose when India rejected a Bangladeshi proposal for a
connection through Birgangj in Nepal, Roxsul-Singabad in India and
Bangladesh's northern Rohanpur regions at the Regional Policy Level
Expert Group meeting on TAR held here, sources said.
However, there was consensus on the Economic and Social Commission for
Asia and the Pacific - proposed 11,705 km route alignment of the main
TAR network originating from Kunming in the southern Yunnan province of
China and passing through Burma, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iran,
Turkey and extending up to Bulgaria in Europe.
"But some sections of this internationally significant rail route
passing through India, Bangladesh and Nepal would require further
examination and discussion for conclusive decisions", M. Rahmatullah,
director of ESCAP, said. TAR is a proposed railway link between South
Asia and Europe on one hand and Thailand and Europe on the other,
covering a distance of 13,000 km.
South Asian experts at the meeting tried to find ways and means to
evaluate the development and operation of the network of routes between
South Asia and Europe to facilitate unhindered travel and transportation
for socio-economic upliftment of the region. India wanted to be
connected through Nepal, Patna via Calcutta and Bangladesh's
Darshana-Shabazpur route in southwestern Kushtia. Bangladesh, however,
said it would not allow use of the Darshana-Shahbazpur link until it was
allowed a regional link with Nepal, the sources said.
Bangladesh, which has multiple choices to be connected to TAR, will need
to construct a 400-kilometre new rail line if it agrees with the Indian
proposal, Bangladesh railway experts said. "Bangladesh will lose the
huge business of Nepalese containers if it agrees with the Indian
proposal, which is also the main motive of India," an expert said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan, which would like to do business with Bangladesh
through TAR, said it would not allowed a connection in its eastern
Bangladesh railway experts said the Trans-Asian Railway was largely
depending on the consensus of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal.
Bangladesh state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury hoped
that the South Asian countries would be less rigid to pave the way for
(India Abroad News Service)
>From the Asian Age newspaper, dated June 4, 1999)