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ADB to provide $300m for upgrades of Bogra-Rangpur highways

FE Report | November 23, 2017 00:00:00

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) would provide US$300 million in loan for upgrading the Elenga-Bangabandhu Bridge-Bogra-Rangpur highways to a four-lane aimed at facilitating the regional connectivity.

Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) Kazi Shofiqul Azam and the newly-appointed country director of the ADB Manmohan Parkash signed the loan agreement in Dhaka Wednesday.

This will be the first of the Asian lender's $1.2 billion multi-tranche loans for the 2nd South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Northwest Corridor Road Project.

Earlier in 2012, the Manila-based lender had confirmed loans for the first SASEC Northwest Corridor Road Project to upgrade 70-kilometre-long Joydeypur-Tangail-Elenga highways.

With utilising the $300 million ADB funds, the Roads and Highways Department would start upgrading the 190-km section corridor from Elenga-Hatikurul-Bogra-Rangpur through the Jamuna Bridge.

In September 2016, the government approved the Elenga-Hatikurul-Bogra-Rangpur road project involving Tk 118 billion to upgrade the two-lane highways to four-lane in a bid to facilitate regional connections with neighbouring Nepal, India and Bhutan.

Out of the total amount, the ADB had assured Bangladesh of providing Tk 93.39 billion and the government was supposed to provide Tk 25.41 billion by the government from its own resources.

Mr Parkash said: "This project will help boost trade along the second-busiest road artery in the country, and further strengthen regional connectivity".

In a statement, the bank said since 2001, SASEC members have invested more than $9.17 billion in projects with a regional dimension, including 31 transport projects worth $7.3 billion.

Bangladesh's road travel accounts for 70 per cent of all passenger traffic and 60 per cent of freight, where traffic has been growing at a rate of 8.0 per cent a year.

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