It is heartening to know that construction of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, the first underwater road network in South-Asia, is going on in full swing as most foreign workers returned to the project site. The tunnel, constructed beneath the Karnaphuli River, is expected to improve Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar highway and help expand the landmass of the port city. The government took the Tk10,374 crore project with an aim to connect the port city with Anwara upazila on its southern side following the model of ‘One City, Two Town.’
The project objectives also include improvement of road communication in the country’s southeastern region, getting connected with the Asian highway network, planned urbanisation on the both banks of the river and enhancing facilities for the Chattogram Port.According to a report published in yesterday’s Daily Sun, around 64 per cent work of the project has already been completed and the project officials are hopeful of meeting the deadline of opening it up to traffic by December 2022.
The Chattogram city is the heart of the country’s economy, because over 60 per cent of the country’s export and import take place through its port. But until 2009, before the takeover of the present government, the city received scant attention as far as infrastructural development was concerned. However, things have changed as the Awami League government has been implementing a series of mega projects and infrastructural development projects centering the port city in the last 12 years.
Apart from construction of the Bangabandhu Tunnel, Chattogram is witnessing a series of other development projects including Bangabandhu Industrial Park, Bay Terminal in the port, Matarbari power plant hub, deep sea port, and rail line from Chattogram to Cox’s Bazar. The greater Chattogram region has already become a lucrative hub for both local and foreign investment. In future, the region will play a crucial role in further development of the national economy.
Besides, thanks to the far-sighted efforts of the government, the city from being the gateway to Bangladesh has also become the gateway to India’s seven sister states, Nepal and Bhutan. It has been possible mainly because of the government’s policy of increasing connectivity through river, road, rail and air with neighbouring countries. So, overall, it is believed that the port city, emboldened by the implementation of the development projects and visionary policies, will take Bangladesh’s economy to a new height in future.