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Tunnels, not bridges

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 2 October, 2021 12:00 AM
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Tunnels, not bridges

The government is planning to construct tunnels under the major rivers, including Padma and Jamuna, instead of bridges to save the rivers and enhance their navigability.

“The government is going to make changes in the plan to construct a bridge from Paturia to Daultaida. We’re planning to build a tunnel there instead of the 2nd Padma Bridge. We’re looking into whether the tunnel can be built instead of the bridge,” Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said on Friday.

Quader, also Awami League general secretary, was addressing a seminar titled organised by Awami League’s science and technology affairs subcommittee at the Institution of Engineers Bangladesh in the capital marking Sheikh Hasina’s 75th birthday.

Mentioning that they are considering taking the initiative for constructing tunnels for the sake of the navigability of the rivers, Quader said there is a plan to construct another tunnel under the Jamuna River from Jamalpur to Gaibandha.

He said, “The more you build bridges, the more the river will lose its navigability. Many bridges have been built and about 50 more bridges are waiting to be inaugurated.”

“The Padma Bridge is scheduled to be opened for traffic next June,” he added.

Quader said country’s first-ever underwater expressway, Bangabandhu Tunnel, is being built under the Karnaphuli River in Chattogram.

Building of more good roads is not good enough, rather these must be maintained properly, he added.

While briefing reporters after the ECNEC meeting in late August, Planning Minister MA Mannan had said the construction of tunnels is less expensive than bridges. “It saves both cost and time,” he said.

He said it would be better to build tunnels from Paturia to Daulatdia instead of the 2nd Padma Bridge and another one beneath the Jamuna River instead of the 2nd Jamuna Bridge. Turning to politics, Quader once again criticised opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) for its lack of any political direction. “BNP’s Vision-2030 announced before the last election has now been kept in a cold storage,” he said.

The AL spokesperson said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has visions for 2021, 2041 and 2100 and she will do whatever is needed to achieve these visions.

“BNP will be dazed after opening of mega projects. They’ve already isolated from the people for its negative politics. They’ll be more isolated if they again boycott the next general election,” he said.

Chaired by science and technology affairs sub-committee of Awami League Hossain Mansur, its member secretary and AL’s science and technology affairs secretary Abdus Sabur addressed the seminar, among others.