PM to join Bangabandhu Tunnel

PM to attend South Tube closing ceremony of Bangabandhu Tunnel on Saturday

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The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, the first under-river tunnel in South Asia, will open for traffic in January as more than 94 per cent work has already been completed.

Ahead of the grand opening, the government is going to celebrate the completion of the civil works of the tunnel’s south tube tomorrow.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to join the celebrations virtually from her official Gan Bhavan residence.

On the eve of the occasion, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Kaikous visited the venue of the festival in Chattogram.

Talking to reporters, Ahmed Kaikaus informed that more than 94 per cent work of ‘Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel’ has already been completed.

“It is expected that all the tunnel works will be completed by next January. The tunnel will be opened for public within January,” he said.

Responding to a question, Caikos said the tunnel is expected to contribute 0.166 per cent to the growth of the national economy.

“The tunnel will significantly improve the traffic situation in Chattogram and give a boost to the country’s economic development,” he said.

He said that people in Bangladesh are eagerly waiting with joy and enthusiasm for the inauguration of Bangabandhu Tunnel, another mega project after Padma Bridge.

Mohd Monjur Hussain, Secretary, Bridges Division said that the first tunnel in South Asia will represent Bangladesh’s pride, dignity and ability to complete a massive structure.

He said that the government has started a project to make Chattogram a port city like the Chinese city of Shanghai on the basis of “One City, Two Town” design.

Monjur said that due to the tunnel, there will be a revolutionary change in the southern part of Bangladesh’s road network.

He said that a modern communication system would be developed with Matarbari deep sea port through Cox’s Bazar, Banshkhali, and Matarbari power plants and Anwara crossing through Karnaphuli tunnel.

He said that the wheels of the economy in the southern region would experience rapid growth. He said that both the standard of living and employment would increase.

Monjur said that this tunnel will play an important role in improving the economy in the long run.

Project director Harunur Rasheed Chowdhury said most of the work inside the tunnel has been completed and only the power lines and some technical work remain.

He said that the domestic and foreign engineers and employees involved in the project are taking the work forward by facing challenges every day.

He said that the tunnel will have a positive impact on the GDP. “The economy will get a new dimension as a result of large-scale employment, tourism and industrialization,” he said.

With the tunnel, Harunur Rashid said, a better and easier communication system will be developed with the Chattogram metropolis, the Chattogram port and the airport located at the western end.

He said that it would take less time and cost to move the manufactured goods and raw materials from Eastern Industry to Chattogram port and airport.

On 14 October 2016, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese President Xi Jinping jointly laid the foundation stone of the Karnaphuli tunnel.

On February 24, 2019, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the boring work of the first tunnel tube and on December 12, 2020. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Kader inaugurated the boring work of the second tube.

Starting at the Naval Academy end of Patenga in Chittagong, the tunnel goes under the river between the Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Limited and Karnaphuli Fertilizer Limited factories in Anwara.

The main tunnel has a length of 3.32 km and consists of two tubes, each with two lanes. Both these tubes will be connected by three junctions (cross passages). These cross passages will be used to access other tubes in case of emergency.

The length of the tunnel tube is 2.45 km and the inner diameter is 10.80 m.

There is a connecting road of 5.35 km to the west and east of the main tunnel.

The tunnel project is being implemented with joint funding from the governments of Bangladesh and China (G2G). The total cost of the project is approximately Rs 10,537 crore.

China’s Exim Bank is giving a loan of Tk 5,913 crore while the rest of the funding is being done by the Bangladesh government.

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