CHATTOGRAM, Oct 25: Hailing the Bangabandhu Tunnel as an infrastructural marvel thanks to an epoch-making initiative by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, entrepreneur and business leader Nazmul Karim Chowdhury Sharun expressed his hope that the dream infrastructure would have its monumental impact on the economy.
The director of the Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) stated that the tunnel would be a game-changer for southern Chattogram, encompassing regions like Patiya, Anwara, Karnaphuli, Banshkhali, Boalkhali, Shatkania, Pekua, Matarbari, Coxs Bazar, and Chattogram Hill Tracts.
He was talking to The Financial Express in an exclusive interview, marking the auspicious opening of the Bangabandhu Tunnel today (Saturday).
While the region boasts abundant resources available for industrialisation, the lack of proper connectivity has hindered progress here. The tunnel, an outcome of a G2G (government to government) project with China, is set to serve as a vital link, ushering in significant socio-economic transformation in the region.
Sharun expressed his optimism that remarkable changes would be there within the next decade because of the infrastructural advancement.
Sharun highlighted that the demand for the tunnel had been a long-standing issue. At last, it became a reality and not only Chattogram but also whole Bangladesh would reap benefits from it, he added.
He noted that the pioneering tunnel in South Asia would have its far-reaching effect on the region, linking Thailand-Myanmar to Laos, India's seven-sister states to Nepal and Bhutan.
The entire Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth (BIG-B) belt stood to gain both geopolitically and geo-economically, he observed. With the Matarbari deep-sea port and the Ramgarh land port coming into being, the tunnel would catalyze economic growth along the Asian Highway, extending up to Kunming, China, he added.
He went on to explain that the Bangabandhu Tunnel was poised to revolutionise southern Chattogram's economy by connecting it to India's North-East, fostering cross-border trade, and reducing transit costs. The transformation would help establish a vital trade gateway, enhance logistics, stimulate ancillary industries, generate employment, and attract investments.
Additionally, he also said, it would help diversify trade routes, bolstering economic stability. When coupled with other major connectivity projects like the elevated expressway and the Patenga-Sitakundu marine drive, it would form an integrated transportation network, elevating overall connectivity. The development would help transform Southern Chattogram into a thriving economic hub, strengthening regional ties and fostering prosperity.
Sharun emphasized that the CCCI played a crucial role as a strategic planning partner and an idea aggregator for government bodies in the ambitious development endeavour. The focus was not only on economic growth but also on fostering sustainable development while preserving the natural beauty and environmental integrity of Chattogram.
He underscored that the development would primarily help ensure efficient transportation of goods and put forth the necessity of expedited implementation of all related projects in Southeast Bangladesh. Furthermore, the establishment of small-scale economic zones in the region could significantly stimulate various agro-economic activities.
The tunnel, elevated expressway, and marine drive projects are integral components of industrial expansion in South Chattogram. Hence, Sharun stressed the importance of formulating a comprehensive master plan for industrialisation in this region, including appropriate land zoning for both industrial and agricultural purposes.
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