THE government of Bangladesh has signed two agreements with Korea Eximbank which will lend a total of $US 815m to fund construction of a new rail and road bridge over the River Karnaphuli at Kalurghat in Chittagong.

The loan agreements were signed in Dhaka on June 27 by Mr Shahriar Kader Siddiky, secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) of the government of Bangladesh.

Also present were finance minister, Mr Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, railways minister, Mr Md Zillul Hakim, and the Korean ambassador to Bangladesh, Mr Park Young-sik.

Under the two agreements, Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) will provide $US 724.73m, and the Economic Development Promotion Facility (EDPF) $US 90.16m.

The funding will be used to build a new road and rail bridge at Kalurghat, where the existing 239m long structure with a single track opened to rail traffic in 1931.

Bangladesh Railways (BR) has obtained planning approval for a new structure, and says that work will start shortly for completion by December 2030.

The new bridge will cost Taka 115.66bn ($US 948m), with Taka 71.28bn being provided by Korean Eximbank and Taka 44.37bn by the government of Bangladesh.

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