‘Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel ‘is waiting for inauguration

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Mohammad Aman Ullah

Cox's Bazar

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Eati Akter

Sub-Editor

The construction of ‘Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel’ is nearing completion. 96 percent of the tunnel work has already been completed. The construction of the approach road has also been completed. The mechanical, electrical, civil work, cross passage and other ancillary works of the tunnel related to the toll plaza are almost at the end. The project director of the tunnel Md. Harunur Rashid said that there is no doubt that the construction of the tunnel will be completed within the stipulated time. 96 percent of the tunnel work has been completed. We are trying to complete the work as per schedule. This tunnel under the Karnaphuli river in Chittagong will be the first road tunnel built under the river in South Asia. And through this tunnel, after the Padma bridge, Bangladesh is moving forward to fulfill another dream. If this tunnel is opened, 17 thousand vehicles will be able to cross daily and by 2025 an average of 28 thousand 305 vehicles will be able to travel. Each tunnel is 2.45 km long in this 3.32 km long tunnel. There is a 5.35 km connecting road at the east and west end of the tunnel. Apart from this, there is an overbridge with a length of 727 meters at the Anwara end. Urban planner Ashiq Imran said that this project will play a huge role in implementing the world-class plans that have been taken around Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf. Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) Chief Engineer Kazi Hasan Bin Shams said, if the tunnel is opened, the traffic pressure will increase in Chittagong city. For this reason, Chittagong Development Authority is moving forward with several development activities keeping in mind the future. He also said that the Uloops and underpasses are being extended for the vehicles to get up and down. After the opening of the tunnel, to handle the traffic pressure of the city, there are plans to open the 8 km stretch of elevated expressway from Patenga to Nimtala quickly. In terms of communication, the distance will be reduced to a great extent, Engineer Shams said, once the construction of the tunnel is completed, the vehicles of Dhaka will no longer have to pass through the city. You can go to Cox’s Bazar through Anwara and Banshkhali through the outer ring road through the tunnel. This will reduce the distance to Dhaka by 35 km and Chittagong by 15 km. Cox’s Bazar can be reached in 7 hours from Dhaka and 3 hours from Chittagong.

Subhash Barua, vice-president of planned Chittagong forum and urban planner, said that the traffic congestion will increase if the tunnel vehicles come out. Thousands of trucks-covered vans are bringing goods to and from Chittagong port every day. He said that it is necessary to look at how these vehicles can be brought under proper management. Harunur Rashid said that this type of tunnel under the river is the first in South Asia. Massive efforts are on to complete the remaining 4 percent of the project. Project officials said that on October 14, 2016, Bangladesh Prime Minister and Chinese President Xi Jinping laid the foundation stone of the project. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially inaugurated the construction of ‘Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel’ on February 24, 2019. The tunnel starts near the Patenga Naval Academy in Chittagong city and rises through the middle of the Karnaphuli river to the Anwara end of the south bank. The tunnel will reach the southern end of the river passing between the factories of Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Limited and Karnaphuli Fertilizer Limited. The tunnel will be located in the middle of the Karnaphuli river at a depth of 150 feet. The construction of the tunnel is being done by the Chinese contractor Communications Construction Company. The cost has been estimated at 10 thousand 374 crore 82 lakh taka. 210 Chinese citizens and 800 Bangladeshi workers are working day and night to implement the project. According to the project source, the construction of this tunnel under the Karnaphuli river is going on at a cost of 10 thousand 374 crore 82 lakh taka. Out of this, China’s assistance is 5 thousand 913 crore 19 lakh taka. Bangladesh government is giving four thousand 461 crore 23 lakh taka. Exim Bank of China has given this loan at 2 percent rate for 20 years. Chinese contractor China Communication and Construction Company Limited (CCCC) is implementing the tunnel construction project. Chinese companies will maintain and collect tolls for the tunnel project. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs meeting on 18 May 2022 approved in principle the proposal to appoint China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) for this work. The government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took the initiative to build this tunnel under the Karnaphuli River to connect the Patenga and Anwara upazilas of South Chittagong to turn the port city into a ‘one city, two town’ model like Shanghai in China.

 

 

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