Bangladesh Railway (BR) received 10 broad gauge locomotives from India today, to overcome its locomotive crisis.
India handed over the locomotives as grants through Darshana-Gede Interchange Point around 3:00pm today.
Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Indian Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar attended the ceremony virtually.
All the 10 locomotives were commissioned in between September 2012 and December 2015, said officials.
With 72 percent locomotives of Bangladesh Railways already crossing their economic life, the government took initiatives last year to hire locomotives from India for the first time to help them overcome the crisis.
In April last year, the railway sent a proposal to the railways ministry to “hire” or “get as courtesy” 20 railway engines (10 broad gauge and 10 meter gauge) from India until the first batch of 70 locomotives that Bangladesh bought from the US and South Korea start arriving mid-next year.
“Until then, the 10 locomotives would be very helpful,” BR’s Director General Md Shamsuzzaman told The Daily Star on July 13.
However, BR will not bring meter gauge (MG) locomotives from India. They did not get suitable MG locomotives as India phased out such engines long ago, Shamsuzzaman added.
According to BR documents from May last year, it had 178 MG locomotives, of which 139 have crossed their 20-year economic life. Of its 90 BG locomotives, 55 have completed their economic life.