Message of Minister

Md. Nurul Islam Sujan, MP
Ministry of Railways
Government of the People’s
Republic of Bangladesh

I am glad to know that The Guardian is going to publish a special issue on Bangladesh Railway. I believe that the special issue would be able to focus on the entire activities of Bangladesh Railway and its glorious history, achievements and developments, especially following the Master Plan.

On this occasion, I would like to inform all that the Ministry of Railways has updated the Railway Master Plan. The current Railway Master Plan was finalized in the year 2013 based on a draft prepared in 2010. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, comply with the 7th Five Year Plan and to regain modal share in the Transport Sector, Bangladesh Railway needs a revised and updated development plan and it is a great achievement for the Ministry of Railways as the Railway Master Plan has been updated successfully with a view to transform Bangladesh Railway into a safer, cheaper and environment friendly mass transport for the people of Bangladesh.

The process of updating Railway Master Plan was started in 2014. For this, a Technical Assistance Project entitled “SASEC Railway Connectivity Investment Programme” was initiated by Bangladesh Railway to carry out the study for updating existing Railway Master Plan and the same was approved by the Government. The Asian Development Bank provided a grant for this Technical Assistance Project. A workshop was held on the draft final report on updating the Railway Master Plan submitted by the consultants, in presence of representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Planning Commission and other Ministries, high officials of Bangladesh Railway and other agencies and experts of the Transport Sector. The Draft Master Plan, incorporating the recommendation and suggestions has been finalized successfully.

Under the dynamic leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the worthy daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh has advanced from a Least Developing Country to a middle income country, which is also a goal of “Vision 2021”. The Hon’ble Prime Minister has given special attention to the improvement of the Railway Sector of Bangladesh and established

an independent Ministry for Railway Sector on 04 December 2011. After creation of the new Ministry, Bangladesh Railway has received special attention from the Government, particularly in implementing development activities for the betterment of railway services. At present Bangladesh Railway is one of the highest recipients of the annual development budget of the Government.

This Master Plan is designed in conformity with the National Land Transport Policy, Seventh Five Year Plan, Vision 2021 as well as Vision 2041, the National Integrated Multimodal Transport Policy and Vision Statements of Bangladesh Railway. Initiatives include enhancing the operational capacity, obtaining a greater share for both passenger and freight transportation more efficient management of railway assets and improved financial efficiency. The Plan responds to Vision 2021 as well as Vision 2041 as it includes rehabilitation and improvement of rolling stock and infrastructure, increasing line capacity, increasing the modal share of rail and expansion of the Bangladesh Railway network to areas currently not served. I understand that the Railway Master Plan is a living document and after each five year phase, the document would be reviewed to keep abreast of new technology, policy and future demands.

I hope that the updated Railway Master Plan will be helpful to policy makers, planners, researchers, professionals, decision makers and development partners to formulate strategies, programmes and decisions for the development of a modern railway system in Bangladesh.

In the end, I wish the publication of a special issue on Bangladesh Railway by The Guardian a great success.

Md. Nurul Islam Sujan, MP