The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, running beneath the Karnaphuli River in Chattogram, is now awaiting inauguration, with the primary construction phase successfully concluded. The main tunnel is fully equipped and prepared for vehicular movement. This historic project marks the country's first-ever underwater tunnel, and preparations for its grand inauguration are underway. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the tunnel in Chattogram on October 28. Marking the occasion, the prime minister will address a rally at the Anwara end of the tunnel. Also read: Uttara to Motijheel in 38 mins once part of Metro Rail from Agargaon opens on Oct 20 Commencing from the following day, the tunnel will be open for vehicular traffic, providing a significant transportation milestone for the region. In this regard, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the primary construction phase of the tunnel has been successfully concluded. “Presently, the focus is on resolving technical matters within the tunnel. The inauguration of this remarkable project heralds Bangladesh's entry into the era of underwater tunnels,” said Quader. This ‘monumental achievement’ will usher in a new era of communication within the country, marking a source of immense national pride, he added. Also read: After 10 years of delay, Mongla-Khulna rail line likely to open in October The Bridges Division Secretary Md. Manzur Hossain told UNB that the primary tunnel is fully ready for vehicular traffic. “Ongoing efforts encompass various aspects, including the establishment of essential infrastructure such as fire service and police station buildings. The overall progress of the tunnel project stands at 98 percent,” he said. "Our activities will continue even after the inauguration. It has been discussed to establish a police station, a dumping area, and a station, and the space is available for that. Those who are involved in the operation and those who will perform maintenance will have their own vehicles," he added. The secretary said that the traffic division has devised a dedicated plan for managing the flow of traffic both within and around the tunnel area, aiming to ensure seamless transportation. Inside the tunnel, vehicles will be able to run at a speed of 80 kilometres per hour. It has been decided which vehicles will run in the tunnel. Tolls have also been fixed, said the Bridges secretary (see bolow). Also read: HSIA Terminal 3: Final preparations on course for Oct 7 inauguration “The concept of the tunnel is new to us. That's why it has some challenges. It is different from other bridges or roads. In that case, we have to make sure that the tunnel will be safe and those who use it will also be safe,” said Hossain, adding, “From that perspective, I don't think it's safe for two- or three-wheelers at the moment.” Harun-ur-Rashid, project director of the tunnel, told UNB that the scope of Chittagong city will increase once the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman tunnel is opened. "Chittagong city marks one end of the tunnel, while the other end leads to Anwara Upazila. The development of tunnels is transforming Anwara into a burgeoning city. Concurrently, the land prices in Anwara Upazila have seen a substantial increase." Numerous industries, both large and small, are emerging on both sides of the road leading to the tunnel's terminus in Anwara Upazila. When the tunnel becomes operational, it will reduce the Karnaphuli River crossing time to just three minutes. As time is of the essence, the economy is expected to thrive. The tunnel is poised to bring about a transformative change in road connectivity between the capital, Dhaka, and Chittagong city, as well as the tourist destination of Cox's Bazar. Also read: Dhaka-Bhanga railway track via Padma bridge all set for trial run on Thursday The main tunnel spans a length of 3.32 kilometres, with each of the two four-lane tubes measuring 2.45 kilometres. Additionally, there will be a 5.35 km link road at both the west and east ends of the main tunnel, along with a 727-metre-long flyover at the Anwara end. The tunnel is situated at a depth ranging from 18 to 31 metres beneath the Karnaphuli River. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina initiated the commencement of boring for the first or northern tunnel from Patenga to Anwara on February 24, 2019. The loan agreement had been signed on June 30, 2015, following a feasibility study of the project in 2011 and a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014. Construction work officially began on December 5, 2017, following the appointment of the contractor. This project is jointly funded by the Governments of Bangladesh and China (G2G), with a total cost of Tk 10,698 crore. The construction work for the tunnel is being carried out by the China Communication and Construction Company Limited (CCCC). The Government of Bangladesh is executing this project with the aim of creating a 'One City Two Towns' concept, similar to Shanghai in China, on either side of the Karnaphuli River. Also read: Elevated expressway marks first of 9 megaprojects to be inaugurated before election A total of 12 types of vehicles will be subject to toll charges when using the 3.43 km long Bangabandhu Tunnel. The minimum toll fee has been set at Tk200, applicable to private cars. Pickup trucks will also be charged Tk200 for each crossing, while microbuses will be charged Tk250. Buses with fewer than 31 seats will incur a toll of Tk300, while those with more than 32 seats will pay Tk400. Big buses with three axles will be charged a toll of Tk500. The toll for trucks capable of carrying goods up to five tonnes has been fixed at Tk400. Eight-ton trucks will have to pay Tk500 and 11-ton trucks will have to pay Tk600. A three-axle container trailer will cost Tk800. A four-axle trailer will cost Tk1,000. However, an additional Tk200 will have to be paid for each additional axle. The toll rate will come into effect on the day the tunnel is opened for vehicular movement. Read more: Toll rates fixed for Karnaphuli tunnel
Bangladesh, France reiterate interest in expanding bilateral trade and exploring potentials for investment in infrastructure
Bangladesh and France have reiterated interest in expanding bilateral trade and exploring potentials for investment in quality and resilient infrastructure development in Bangladesh, including in the railway sector. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron expressed the hope that the Bangladesh-France Investment Summit — to be held on October 23 and 25, 2023 — in Paris and Toulouse would inject a new impetus to the bilateral trade and investment relations. "Thank you, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and the people of Bangladesh for such a warm welcome. Our friendship is long-standing and unbreakable," President Macron said. Read: Partnership for resilience and prosperity: Dhaka, Paris want joint efforts for result-oriented COP28 in Dubai France expressed its confidence in the economic prospects offered by Bangladesh for shared growth and inclusive development. Both sides recalled the depth of their economic partnership, spanning every sector from industry to services, and expressed willingness to further deepen and widen it through business-to-business collaboration, according to a joint statement issued on Monday. France lauded the adoption of the National Action Plan on the labour sector of Bangladesh (2021-2026) and stressed the importance of its implementation and the diversification of Bangladesh’s economy in order to facilitate a smooth and sustainable transition under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) of the European Union. Read: Bangladesh, France sign €184 credit facility deal to support urban governance, infrastructure improvement Building on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to France in November 2021, at her invitation, President Emmanuel Macron paid a bilateral visit to Bangladesh on September 10-11, 2023. The President of France and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh met on Monday in Dhaka to give a strong impetus to the bilateral relations, and stated their common conviction to develop a trusted and meaningful partnership fostering strategic autonomy — in support of global peace and security, resilience and prosperity, and people-centric connectivity. Bangladesh and France committed to launch regular high-level dialogues to deepen the strategic dimension of their partnership. Read: France happy with Bangladesh’s commitment for acquisition of 10 A350 from Airbus
A significant number of people who sought refuge in shelters due to the devastating floods and landslides triggered by heavy rainfall in Bandarban have now returned to their homes, District Commissioner Shah Mujahid Uddin has said. During a press briefing held on Friday (August 11, 2023) afternoon, he outlined the overall situation in the district, elaborating on the extent of the destruction caused by the recent torrential rains and floods. The calamity has left a trail of destruction, displacing families and causing substantial damage to infrastructure. Read more Flood situation improves in Bandarban Currently, around 340 individuals remain in various shelters across the district as they grapple with the aftermath of the disaster. The impact has been dire, with 15,800 families stranded by flooding, and a staggering 15,600 houses being severely damaged, he said. Quoting the Agriculture Department, the District Commissioner said that the agricultural sector has been hit hard, with 8,253 hectares of cropland succumbing to the deluge. He also reported 10 deaths resulting from the flood and landslides. Read more Woman, daughter among 3 killed in Bandarban landslides Furthermore, road connections to Thanchi and Ruma upazilas remain severed due to the relentless downpour. The Department of Public Health Engineering has taken steps for rehabilitation by setting up two mobile water purification units, he said. Already, 2 lakh litres of water have been distributed through this initiative. The Bangladesh Army has also joined the relief efforts, distributing an additional 53,800 litres of drinking water, he said. Additionally, 850 families have received essential dry food provisions, while 962 individuals have been given vital medical care and medications. Read more Army deployed to tackle flood, landslides in Ctg, Bandarban
The Asian Development Bank (ADB), as a transaction advisor for the Government of Bangladesh’s Rampura Amulia Demra Expressway public–private partnership (PPP) project, has mobilized $261 million of private sector capital for a four-lane, 13.5 km expressway. It will ease traffic congestion and provide better connectivity between the capital Dhaka and other major cities. The project is being funded through a $193 million senior loan from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Bank of China, DBS Bank Limited, and Infrastructure Development Company Limited, a nonbanking financial institution based in Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s estimated growth higher than forecast for FY 2023: ADB The remaining $68 million is provided by sponsors as equity contributions, ADB said on Thursday. ADB assisted in project structuring, negotiation, tender execution, and provided support for commercial award and financial closure. “We worked with the public authorities in Bangladesh to prepare, market, and attract private sector partners to design, build, finance, operate and maintain this expressway,” said Head of ADB Office of Markets Development and PPP, Cleo Kawawaki. ADB increases support for rural roads improvement in Bangladesh “It will provide commuters with quicker access to their destinations by improving connectivity between Dhaka and eastern and southeastern districts of Bangladesh, including the cities of Chattogram, Narayanganj, and the northeastern city of Sylhet.” Kawawaki said that the Rampura Amulia Demra PPP project was delivered under an availability payment mechanism with partial revenue linked to US dollar and taka exchange rate movements, whereas the first road transaction, the $370 million Dhaka Bypass Road PPP, was structured as a minimum revenue guarantee. ADB appoints Fatima Yasmin as Vice-President for sectors, themes “ADB has therefore helped establish the pathway for both types of payment mechanisms in Bangladesh for future private sector investments in the infrastructure sector,” she said. The deal—part of a programmatic approach taken by ADB to develop road PPPs as an asset class for investments—is the second successful financial closure of a PPP transaction with ADB as transaction advisor in Bangladesh. ADB is currently advising the government on the Joydebpur Mymensingh Expressway PPP project, which will improve connectivity to 10 special economic zones. The Rampura Amulia Demra Expressway will be designed, constructed, financed, operated, and maintained during a 25 year concession period by a consortium comprising China Communications Construction Company Limited and China Road and Bridge Corporation. Read more: Purbachal Expressway: Next megaproject unveiling up govt's sleeve?
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday (July 20, 2023) said the government has no intention to obstruct the political programmes of BNP-Jamaat, but won’t spare them if they repeat any destructive activity. “We will not obstruct them in doing politics and are not doing so as well. But they won’t get spared if they set fire to rails again or make any damage to the people,” she said, referring to the violence unleashed by the BNP-Jamaat during the 2013-2015 period. The premier made the warning while opening train movement on the newly constructed 72-km dual-gauge double rail line, which was built under the Akhaura-Laksam Double Track Project. Also read: Efforts on to bring home money laundered by BNP leaders: PM Hasina She joined the inaugural function at Laksam in Cumilla through a virtual platform from her official residence Ganabhaban. With the newly constructed 72-km dual-gauge double track, the entire 321-km Dhaka-Chattogram corridor has turned into a double lined one increasing its operational capacity, which will save travelling time by 30 minutes to one hour on this route. Hasina said there will be cameras everywhere and the culprits will be identified and punished properly in case of any destructive activity. Also read: Staying away from corruption can make possible the impossible: PM Hasina tells govt officials Terming BNP and Jamaat the terrorist parties, Hasina said they know how to destroy but they don’t know how to create anything or serve the people. “They know how to plunder, commit corruption and make self-gains,” she said. The prime minister asked the people of the country to remain alert so that they can stay protected from the hands of terrorist BNP-Jamaat. “We want the country to be protected from their hands,” she said. Also read: Need to transform education system to build Smart Bangladesh: PM Hasina tells educators The PM said that BNP-Jamaat set fire to railways in 29 places during their arson violence unleashed to thwart the 2014 general election. She said many train operations were suspended during the BNP-Jamaat regime, but the AL government took massive steps to improve the sector considering that train journeys are comfortable and cheap for the common people. PM Hasina said her government formed a separate ministry for railways in order to increase allocation to the sector. “In the last 14 and a half years, we constructed 740 km new rail lines, converted 280 km meter-gauge rail tracks into dual-gauge ones, and reinstalled or reconstructed 1,308 km rail lines reinstalled,” she said. Also read: Govt is always with you: PM Hasina tells businesspeople Besides, the AL government constructed 126 new station buildings, reconstructed 223 stations buildings, constructed 732 new railway bridges, reinstalled or reconstructed 774 railway bridges in the time, she added. The PM said her government collected 111 locomotives, 588 passenger carriages and 516 wagons (for carrying goods) since 2009. “We’ve commissioned 143 new trains on different routes,” she said. She said the government is implementing several mega projects in order to enhance the regional and local railway communication and networks. Also read: Reach sewage treatment facilities outside Dhaka too: PM Hasina directs authorities “We’ve taken initiative to collect 46 new broad-gauge locomotives, 460 new broad-gauge passenger carriages, 150 new meter-gauge passenger carriages, 125 new modern luggage vans, 1,310 new wagons,” said the premier. Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan chaired the event from Laksam end, while LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Tazul Islam (local MP from Laksam-Monohorgonj) and Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq (local MP from Akhaura-Kashba) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) country director for Bangladesh Edimon Ginting spoke on the occasion. PMO Secretary Mohammad Salahuddin conducted the function and Railways Secretary Humayun Kabir delivered the welcome speech. Also read: PM Hasina inaugurates South Asia's largest STP in Dhaka's Dasherkandi
The Bridges Division on Monday (June 19, 2023) paid Tk 316.02 crore as third and fourth installments of the loan taken for construction of Padma Bridge. Bridges Division Secretary Manjur Hossain handed over a cheque of Tk 316,02,69,093 to the Senior Secretary of Finance Division around 10 am in presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said a press release of Road Transport and Bridges Ministry. Read: Repayment of Padma Bridge loan starts with Tk 316.91 crore given to govt Road Transport and Bridge Minister Obaidul Quader, cabinet members, secretary, principal secretary to the prime minister were also present at that time. With this, the Bridges Division paid a total of Tk 632,93,36,6142 to the government in installments. Read: Tk 660.24 cr toll collected from Padma Bridge till April 25: Quader Earlier on April 5, the Bridges Division began the repayment of the loan with Tk 316,90,97,049 from the revenue it earned as toll collection from the bridge. The loan was taken from Bangladesh Bank at a low interest rate under an agreement signed between the Finance Division and the Bangladesh Bridge Authority. Read: Padma Bridge Rail Link: 75% complete, on course for June 2024 handover In line with a revised agreement with the finance division on 26 July 2022, the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) will repay the loan in 35 years through 140 installments (four installments each year). The repayment will continue up to the fiscal year 2056-57. The authority collected tolls worth Tk 779,75,87,000 from the bridge till June 18,2023.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday (June 4, 2023) flagged off a new intercity train named 'Chilahati Express' on Dhaka-Chilahati-Dhaka route in a bid to strengthen the connectivity between the northern region with the capital and expand the business in the area. The premier commissioned the Chilahati Express through a virtual platform, joining an event at Chilahati Railway Station from her official residence Ganabhaban. Read more: PM strikes defiant tone in face of US pressure The Chilahati Express, having the capacity of 800 passengers, will run on Dhaka-Chilahati-Dhaka route six days in a week. Now freight trains and cross-border train ‘Mitali Express’ run on the Dhaka-Chilahati route. Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan spoke at the function from Chilahati end in Nilphamari, while lawmaker Asaduzzaman Noor MP (Nilphamari-2) and other local MPs, among others, were present there. Read more: Govt’s efforts on to keep economy vibrant despite global recession: PM Principal Secretary Tofazzel Hossain Miah conducted the event, while Railways Secretary Muhammad Humayun Kabir delivered the welcome speech from Ganabhaban end.
Commuters can use the Dhaka metro rail for 12 hours from 8 am to 8 pm from Wednesday (May 31, 2023). Nazmul Ahsan Bhuiya, deputy project director (DPD) of Metro Rail, said from today the metro rail will operate from 8 am to 8 pm on the Uttara-Agargaon route. As per the new schedule, Dhaka Metro Rail will not operate on Friday instead of Tuesday. Also read: Case filed against unidentified persons for pelting stones at metro rail According to the new schedule, Dhaka Metro Rail will leave the station every 10 minutes during the peak hours (from 8 am to 11 am and from 3:01 pm to 6 pm). During off-peak hours (from 11:01 am to 3 pm and from 6:01 pm to 8 pm), the metro rail will leave the station every 15 minutes. Earlier, the operating hours of Dhaka Metro Rail was 8 am to 2 pm. On December 28, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the country’s first elevated metro rail, setting a milestone in the communication history. Read more: Dhaka Metro Rail to run from 8am to 8pm from May 31 According to DMTCL, Dhaka Metro Rail operation till Motijheel may start by the end of 2024, and till Kamalapur by 2025. By December 2024, metro rail will start operation from Agargaon to Kamalapur with 24 trains.
The United Arab Emirates will continue its cooperation with Bangladesh in the development of its infrastructure and sea ports for mutual benefits. The UAE's newly appointed ambassador to Bangladesh Abdulla Ali AlHmoudi said this during a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Ganabhaban on Wednesday (May 17, 2023). Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting. The UAE envoy said that his county will carry forward the friendship and cooperation with Bangladesh for economic development. Also Read: Economic cooperation needed among countries in South and Southeast Asia: PM tells outgoing Korean envoy Ali AlHmoudi apprised the prime minister about his meeting with Bangladesh's state minister of civil aviation and tourism regarding the cooperation in the aviation sector. The ambassador recalled that the foundation of the bilateral relation between Bangladesh and the UAE was laid by fathers of the two nations Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan through a visit to the Gulf nation by Bangabandhu in 1974. Later, Sheikh Nahyan also visited Dhaka in 1984 and played a very pivotal role in establishing solid foundation of the bilateral ties between the two brotherly countries, he added. Also Read: PM Hasina: Bangladesh won't buy anything from those who impose sanctions against it During the meeting, the prime minister highly appreciated the UAE leadership as they are going to host the COP-28 summit meeting in November next in Dubai. About Bangladeshi expatriates working in the UAE and Middle Eastern countries, she put emphasis on learning Arabic language by those seeking to go there for jobs. The PM welcomed the new UAE envoy in Dhaka and assured him of providing all cooperation during his stay in Bangladesh. Hasina also conveyed her best wishes to the UAE leadership through the ambassador. Read More: Community clinics model: UN adopts resolution highlighting Sheikh Hasina initiative Ambassador-at-Large Mohammad Ziauddin and Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary M Tofazzel Hossain Miah were present at the meeting.
Starting today (April 05, 2023), commuters can avail the Dhaka Metro Rail service for six hours every day – from 8 am to 2 pm. Considering the commuters’ demand and aiming to provide more services, the timing has been changed, said MAN Siddique, managing director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), in a press conference on March 30. Earlier, the operating hours of Dhaka Metro Rail was 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. Also Read: Metro rail: Shewrapara, Uttara South stations now open to public All the stations on the Uttara-Agargaon route of Dhaka Metro Rail will be operational this month, Siddique said. Dhaka Metro Rail will start operating in full swing from July this year and then the train will run non-stop from dawn to midnight, he added. According to DMTCL, Dhaka Metro Rail operation till Motijheel may start by the end of 2024, and till Kamalapur by 2025. By December 2024, metro rail will start operation from Agargaon to Kamalapur with 24 trains. Read More: Metro rail: Shewrapara, Uttara South stations now open to public On December 28, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the country’s first elevated metro rail, setting a milestone in the communication history.