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BD in talks with China on four mega projects

Mir Mostafizur Rahaman | November 09, 2020 00:00:00

Bangladesh is now in discussion with China for implementation of four new mega projects in the country with Chinese funding.

These projects, involving several billion dollars, are considered very important for the infrastructural development of Bangladesh, officials told the FE.

The projects are East West elevated expressway project, High-speed railway project, 5G Mobile network project, and Satellite project.

Among the projects, China assured to consider funding Dhaka East-West Elevated Expressway project, involving over US$ 2.0 billion. The Bangladesh Bridge Authority is the implementing agency of the project.

It will be the largest expressway with a length of 45 kilometres, connecting the eastern regions like Chittagong and Sylhet to the eastern regions including Rajshahi and Khulna, bypassing the capital.

The expressway will be connected to four important highways of the country, including Padma Bridge. The project will open the way to cross from one end of the country to its other end without entering the capital, officials of the Bridges Division said.

According to feasibility study of the project, implementation of the mega project will significantly reduce traffic congestion as well as improve transportation and communications in Savar, Ashulia, Nabinagar and Savar EPZ areas.

The route alignment of the proposed expressway is Hemayetpur-Nimtoli- Keraniganj-Ekuria-Janzira-Fatullah-Hajiganj Bandar-Modonpur on the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway.

Bangladesh recently requested China to finance the project, as it is 'very important'. China informed Bangladesh that it has enough expertise to build such expressway.

However, the mode of financing for implementing the project is not yet decided, sources in the Ministry of Finance said. The project may be implemented through public private partnership (PPP) or build-operate-transfer (BOT) system, China opined.

The country has also shown serious interest in the Dhaka-Chittagong high-speed railway, 5G mobile, and satellite projects, officials of the ministries concerned said.

Bangladesh Railway has already initiated the $11-billion Dhaka-Chittagong High Speed Railway Project, the largest-ever infrastructure project in terms of spending.

Recently, a Chinese company - China Railway Design Corporation - has completed initial work for designing the project as consultant of a local firm.

According to the plan, high-speed trains with an average speed of 300 km per hour will carry around 50,000 passengers daily on Dhaka-Chittagong route.

The rail-track will run along with the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway, which will reduce length of the track by 90 kilometres to 227.3 kilometres.

If the project is implemented, the journey time between Dhaka and Chittagong will be 56 minutes only. If the trains would stop at four points, the time will be 73 minutes, project officials added.

China also requested Bangladesh to consider PPP financing, commercial loans, and investments from Chinese side, apart from soft loans, while implementing the project.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology is in talks with the Chinese side regarding its proposals on the 5G mobile and satellite projects, officials said.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has a plan to launch 5G mobile service in the country soon.

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