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Govt to build roads along hilly borders

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 31 March, 2018 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The government will build four roads in three hilly districts along the border with Myanmar and India to enhance border security.

A border road scheme for Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban hilly districts has already been approved to construct a total of 317km border roads in the first phase out of 540km frontier with two neighbouring countries, official sources said.

With this initiative, the government is expecting to prevent cross-border trade of illegal arm, narcotics and human trafficking.

At the same time, legal bilateral trades with these two countries is expected to increase supported by improved road connectivity along the border.

Roads and Highways Department and the Special Works Organization of Bangladesh Army will implement the project by 2021 at an estimated cost of Tk 1,700 crore.

The three hilly districts have a 330 km border with India and 210 km border with Myanmar, which has been a route used by the smugglers. The government has taken the initiative to improve border road communication under the project as it wants to take full control of those border areas, officials said.

The proposed road are Ukhia-Ashartali-Fultoli road, Sajek-Shiladah-Betling road, Sajek-Dokanghat-Thegamukh road, and Thegamukh-Loitongpara-Thachchi-Dumdumia-Rajsthali road.

Roads and highways department officials said the roads will play an important role in socio-economic development, flourishing tourism sector and improving marketing of agro products in the hilly districts alongside improving border security.

The hilly people are mainly dependent on agriculture as no large industrial units have so far been established in the hilly districts.

The country’s overall economy will see a positive change if the economy of hilly areas is connected with the mainstream economy. It is important to develop road network in hilly areas for that.

Moreover, exports of products from across the country will be possible to India and Myanmar through these hilly districts once their road network is developed.

Once the project is implemented, industries will be set up there, new job opportunities will be created and medicare facilities will be expanded, thus flourishing tourism sector, according to officials.

The three hilly districts with a total of 13,295 square kilometre areas constitute one-tenth of the country’s total area. Its population is 15.87 lakh according to 2011 census.

The incumbent government is taking initiatives to improve the livelihoods of hilly people and utilise huge natural resources of hilly areas as those people lagged behind the people of plain land because of the geographical, political and infrastructural constraints.