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World Bank lends Bangladesh $500m to improve road connectivity in western region

  • Published at 06:02 pm February 1st, 2021
Vehicles face difficulties plying on the rickety portion of the highway
Vehicles face difficulties plying on the rickety portion of the highway in Jessore’s Chengutia Dhaka Tribune

The project will create about 1.3 million day works for local rural people in civil works

The government on Monday signed a $500 million financing agreement with the World Bank to help upgrade the Jessore-Jhenaidah highway from two-lane to a four-lane one.

This upgrade will also improve connecting rural roads and markets that will benefit over 20 million people living in the western region, said a press release.

The project is the first of a multi-phased $1.4 billion 10-year programme to upgrade two existing 110 KM two-lane highways, Bhomra-Satkhira-Navaron and Jessore-Jhenaidah.

In the current phase, the project will be implemented in four districts: Jessore, Jhenaidah, Magura, and Chuadanga.

In the first two years, the project will create about 1.3 million day works for local rural people in civil works.

The agreement was signed by Fatima Yasmin and Mercy Tembon on behalf of the government and the World Bank, respectively.

The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association, has a 34-year term, including a four-year grace period.

The western economic corridor and regional enhancement programme phase I project will help upgrade the 48 kilometre highway, and also help rehabilitate about 600 km connecting rural roads and build new or develop existing rural markets.

It will also install fiber-optic cables along the highway to ensure fast and reliable internet service.

With better connectivity and logistics, farmers will be able to reach new and existing markets in less time and cost, and will also minimise loss from spoilage of perishable goods, said Mercy Tembon, World Bank country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.

The economic corridor will create new opportunities for people and stimulate the local economy. Moreover, this will help Bangladesh become a regional hub for trade, transit and logistics, she also said.

The project will set up separate lanes for slow-moving vehicles, road crash barriers, signage, and safe crossing facilities for pedestrians.

This is a ground-breaking project that will help improve transport network, said Fatima Yasmin, secretary, Economic Relations Division.