The government on Tuesday gave nod to a Tk 169.19 billion large project to upgrade 209km Dhaka-Sylhet highway into a modern four-lane highway to improve regional connectivity.
The approval came from the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting held virtually with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide Tk 132.44 billion loans to South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Dhaka-Sylhet Corridor Road Development project, while the rest of the money will come from the state coffer.
The Ecnec meeting approved a total of nine projects involving Tk 198.45bn, of which Tk 66bn will come from GoB funds while rest of Tk 132.45bn will come as project assistance. Planning Minister MA Mannan briefed journalists about the meeting outcome later.
He said the SASEC corridor will improve the country’s road connectivity with Nepal, India, Myanmar and China. “It’s very important that we’re looking towards the East internationally.”
The Roads and Highways Department under the Road Transport and Highways Division will implement the SASEC corridor project by December 2026.
Once the project is implemented, the road transport network of the country will be linked with the Asian highway network, BIMSTEC corridor, SAARC corridor, and regional road network.
The main objectives of the project are to upgrade the 209.328 KM Dhaka-Sylhet highway into four-lane alongside two service lanes on both sides of the highway for slow moving vehicles, straitening the existing curves of the highway, building necessary U-loops, intersections, and thus ensuring speedy and uninterrupted vehicular movement. The main project operations include 245.42 lakh cubic meter of earth work, 72.73 lakh cubic meter flexible pavement, 2.92 lakh cubic meter flexible concrete pavement on service lanes, construction of 305 culverts, 66 bridges, seven flyovers, six railway over bridges, 26 foot over bridges.In reply to a question, Mannan hoped that the project cost will be realised within 15 years after the start of collecting tolls.
Replying to another question, Planning Commission member Mamun-Al-Rashid said the per cubic meter construction cost under the SASEC corridor project would be less than the cost under Elenga-Hatikumrul highway development project.
Ecnec also approved Network development and expansion of Internet protocol of BTCL project at a cost of Tk 9.46bn.
Mannan said the capacity and coverage of BTCL would be further enhanced through this project.
He said the premier in the meeting said that the capacity of BTCL and Teletalk should be further enhanced in line with the government’s initiatives for Digital Bangladesh.
Referring to the 1st revision of construction of first terminal and ancillary facilities for the Payra Sea Port project with an additional cost of Tk 5.35bn, Mannan said once the project is implemented, the entire area would get a facelift.
He said the Prime Minister also asked the authorities concerned to bring and thus place the total work plan over Payra Sea Port in the next ECNEC meeting.
Replying to a question, Planning Commission member Mamun Al Rashid said that the design for the Payra sea port project has already been framed and hopefully the first terminal of the port would be completed within the next two years.
The 2nd revision to River bank protection on both sides from the erosion of Halda River at Hathazari and Rouzan upazilas under Chattogram district got approved with an additional cost of Tk 1.07bn.
While giving approval to the Cashew nut and coffee research, development and expansion project with Tk 2.12bn, Sheikh Hasina suggested for conducting more research in this regard as well as producing the saplings of cashew nut.
She also suggested for using freezer vans for transporting and marketing the perishable items.
The other projects approved in the meeting are Modernisation of Bangladesh Betar, Sylhet Centre and installation of digital broadcast equipments, 1st revised with an additional cost of Tk 310.7mne, West Gopalganj water management project, 1st phase with Tk 1.36bn, Protecting Daulatkhan Pourashava, Chokighat and other vulnerable areas under Daulatkhan upazila in Bhola from the erosion of River Meghna of Tk 5.23bn and installation of family nutrition gardens at the uncultivated barren land and at homesteads with Tk 4.38bn.