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Dhaka Tribune

A developmental dream come true

The many roles and opportunities emerging from the newly inaugurated Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel

Update : 05 Mar 2024, 01:30 PM

Improved communication systems are the key to national development. The Awami League Government is working relentlessly under the visionary leadership of Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the development of communication systems across the country for economic progress and industrialization. This continuous development has been possible because the people have repeatedly elected Awami League by voting for “Nouka”- the election symbol of Awami League.

The government is building a seamless communications network by building hundreds of roads and bridges across the country. Apart from dredging and revitalizing the rivers, the government has also modernized the railway services. 

The country's first tunnel, “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel” built under the Karnaphuli river in Chattogram was inaugurated on October 28 as part of the continuous development activities of our PM. The respective authorities have announced that the traffic inside the tunnel will be open for everyone on the day after the inauguration. After the inauguration of the tunnel, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will address a rally at the Anwara end of the tunnel on October 28.

On October 14, 2016, the Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina and the President of China, Xi Jinping, laid the foundation stone of the “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel” project. This tunnel will connect two banks of the Karnaphuli River to improve the communication system in the southeastern part of the country -- connecting it to the Asian highway network on the model “one city two towns” of Shanghai, China. This tunnel will connect Patenga of Chattogram city and the Anwara end of the south. As a result, Dhaka-Chittagong and Cox's Bazar will be connected with modern communication systems and the Asian highway. 

The development of communication systems is a prerequisite for economic progress. The inauguration of the tunnel will open new doors for economic development. Trade in this region will increase manyfold. The Karnaphuli tunnel will not only build the communications network of the south-eastern part of the country, but through this, economic excellence will be achieved along with the expansion of industries and businesses in Southern Chattogram. 

A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has been developed on the south bank of the Karnaphuli River complementing the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel. This will generate employment as a result of investment and industrialization. The fate of millions of people in this region will change for the better. Due to reduction in travel time and cost, transportation of raw materials and manufactured goods to Chittagong port, airport, and especially with the North Western region of Bangladesh will be facilitated. Entrepreneurs will benefit, speed of trade will increase, import-export processes will be revitalized and, foreign direct investment will multiply.

In the Special Economic Zone, the process of setting up many other industries including shipbuilding industry, electronic products, textile, furniture, building materials, etc are all underway, which will yet again, directly contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the people of this region and beyond.

The Bangabandhu Tunnel has created a huge potential for investment from Mirsharai to Cox's Bazar. Through the tunnel, the raw materials and finished products of the entire country including the Mirsharai Economic Zone can be transported to the Matarbari sea port of Cox's Bazar in the fastest possible time, avoiding the city traffic. 

According to conservative estimation in the DPP (DevelopmentProject Proposal, the financial and economic IRR (Internal Rate of Return) will be 6.19% and 12.49% respectively; the financial and economic BCR (Benefit Cost Ratio) will be 1.05 and 1.5 respectively. It will help boost the country’s GDP growth by 0.166% annually. 

From Mirsharai of Chattogram to Cox's Bazar and the large area around the Marine Drive along the coast, these have immense potential to become the country's largest industrial corridor owing to the Bangabandhu Tunnel. There is also the possibility of the construction of several jetties on the south bank of the Karnaphuli river, which will increase the capacity of the port.

Along with southern Chattogram, the tunnel will connect the tourist city of Cox's Bazar and the hill district of Bandarban with other regions of Bangladesh.

Cox's Bazar, Saint Martin, and Bandarban are among the major tourist destinations of the country. As the communication systems around the Bangabandhu Tunnel becomes easier, it will attract an increased number of domestic and foreign tourists. Hence this tunnel will also play a vital role in the development of the country's tourism industry.

The Bangabandhu Tunnel will undoubtedly play an important role in accelerating communication and economic activities. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel is unquestionably a brilliant addition among the transformative initiatives undertaken by the Honourable Prime Minister in the progress of Bangladesh's planned economic prosperity.

 

Waseqa Ayesha Khan is an MP and Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Power, Energy & Mineral Resources, as well as the Finance & Planning Affairs Secretary, Bangladesh Awami League.

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