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Sitakunda-Cox’s Bazar marine drive to be linked with Asian Highway

  • Published at 12:36 am September 22nd, 2016
Sitakunda-Cox’s Bazar marine drive to be linked with Asian Highway
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a Chinese firm to finance two priority projects: Dhaka-Sylhet four-lane road and Sitakunda-Cox’s Bazar marine drive expressway. The projects of the Road Transport and Highways Division got the committee’s nod at a meeting yesterday, with Finance Minister AMA Muhith in the chair. Of them, the 160km marine drive expressway will be connected with the Asian Highway-41 and the Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor. The two projects will be implemented under government-to-government deal, said Mustafizur Rahman, additional secretary at the Cabinet Division, at a post-meeting press briefing. According to the proposal, the first project involves upgrading the 226km Dhaka-Sylhet road into a four-lane highway at an estimated cost of $1.58bn and the Marine Drive Expressway and Sitakunda-Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar Coastal Protection Works at a cost of $2.8bn. However, the cost may increase as the project work goes on, says the proposal. Two highway projects will be constructed by the China Harbor Engineering Limited and the Bank of China will finance on G2G basis. The Road Transport and Highways Division, in its proposal, said the Chinese companies will implement the projects through the G2G deal. On August 22, Finance Minister AMA Muhith wrote the Chinese ambassador in Bangladesh, Ma Mingqiang, for funding of Dhaka-Sylhet highway into four-lane project construction. In recent years, the government has been trying to get the Chinese financial assistance to implement 18 projects worth over $14bn. Earlier, the projects like Info-Sarker Phase III of $150m and tunnel construction under the River Karnaphuli of over $1bn were awarded to the Chinese companies without any tender. On July 20, the cabinet committee on public purchase decided to purchase service worth over $4.3bn from the China Railway Engineering Corporation to lay Dhaka-Jessore rail line through Padma Bridge.