Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially inaugurated the eagerly anticipated 11.5-kilometer Dhaka Elevated Expressway’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport-Farmgate section, a move expected to significantly alleviate the city’s traffic congestion. The inauguration ceremony took place at the Kawla end of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, where the Prime Minister unveiled the expressway’s nameplate. A prayer for the well-being of the nation and its citizens followed.
Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader welcomed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister, Sheikh Rehana, as they paid the toll at the Kawla end. After the inauguration, colorful balloons were released into the sky. Md. Monjur Hossain, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Bridges Authority and Secretary of the Bridges Division, provided a brief overview of the project.
Subsequently, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proceeded to the Old Trade Fair Ground at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar to attend a civic rally celebrating the grand opening of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway. There, she unveiled an inaugural plaque. Although the Airport-Farmgate section was formally inaugurated, it is set to open to traffic the following day.
This section spans approximately 11.5 kilometers and features 15 boarding ramps, with two ramps at Banani and Mohakhali remaining closed temporarily. The maximum speed limit on the expressway will be 60 kilometers per hour, and it is restricted to motor vehicles only, with three-wheelers, bicycles, and pedestrians prohibited. Additionally, motorcycles are not allowed on the expressway at this time.
The toll rates for the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport-Farmgate section of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway have been established by the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges, ranging from Taka 80 to Taka 400, based on vehicle type and category. The entire elevated expressway spans 46.73 kilometers, covering various key points in Dhaka.
Initially, vehicles on the expressway will have a speed limit of 60 kilometers per hour, allowing them to cover the 11-kilometer distance from the HSIA to Farmgate in approximately 10 minutes. The total project cost is estimated at Taka 8,940 crore, with the Bangladesh government providing Taka 2,413 crore in viability gap funding.
The First Dhaka Elevated Expressway (FDEE) Company Ltd serves as the investor company, with Italian Thai Development Public Company Ltd holding 51 percent shares, China Shandong International Economic and Technical Co-operation Group (CSI) owning 34 percent, and Sinohydro Corporation Ltd holding 15 percent shares. Construction for the second phase from Banani Railway Station to Moghbazar Railway Crossing is progressing rapidly.
Over the past 15 years, Bangladesh has undertaken several infrastructure projects, including the completion of mega-projects like the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, MRT Line-6 (Bangladesh’s first metro rail project), and the Chandra-Elenga four-lane highway. Other crucial projects, such as the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel and the Padma Bridge rail link, are nearing completion, further boosting the country’s economic growth.
Govt Mandates Nov 30 Deadline for Tax Return Submissions
The government has instituted a mandatory requirement for tax return submissions by November 30, as outlined in the Income Tax Act of 2023. This new law, which received presidential approval on June 22, replaces the Income Tax Ordinance of 1984.
To inform stakeholders about this development, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has initiated public hearings. In alignment with this effort, Tax Zone-2 organized an event today at its commissioner’s office in the Segunbagicha area of the city, with the participation of representatives from various autonomous bodies.
During the event, income tax officials emphasized that self-assessment returns are now obligatory under the new law. They stressed the deadline for filing income tax returns as November 30, noting that failure to meet this deadline would result in the denial of expected rebates and the imposition of late charges.
Income Tax Officer Md. Zakir Hossain highlighted that for individuals with an annual taxable income of less than Taka five lakh, a one-page income tax return must be submitted. He also mentioned that the NBR has introduced a one-page form tailored for low-income taxpayers.
DMP Assures US Visa Policy Won’t Affect Bangladesh Police
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has asserted that the US visa policy will not impact the Bangladesh Police force, as they continue to carry out their duties within the framework of existing laws.
DMP’s Chief of Media and Public Relations, Deputy Commissioner Faruk Hossain, addressed reporters at the DMP Media Center, emphasizing that the implementation of the US visa policy in Bangladesh would not hinder the work of the police force. He stated that police personnel perform their duties in accordance with the law, and the visa policy would not obstruct their responsibilities.
While acknowledging reports of the US visa policy being applied to some members of law enforcement agencies, Faruk pointed out that they have not received a definitive list of individuals affected. He also highlighted that the vast majority of the over 2 lakh personnel in the Bangladesh Police have no aspirations of traveling to the United States.
In light of this perspective, he confidently asserted that the visa policy would have no significant impact on the police force, as they operate within the law and uphold human rights in their work. Faruk expressed the belief that their responsibilities would not be disrupted by this visa policy.
When asked about the role of law enforcement agencies in ensuring free, fair, and neutral elections, the police official reiterated their commitment to working within the boundaries of the law. He explained that the police play a role in ensuring security at polling stations, in collaboration with other forces. He reassured that, in accordance with electoral laws, they would fulfill their duties as entrusted by the Election Commission and did not foresee the visa policy posing any obstacle to their responsibilities.
The United States had announced its visa policy for Bangladesh on May 24, with the objective of promoting free and fair elections in the country. Within four months, the US declared its intention to impose visa restrictions on individuals responsible for obstructing the democratic electoral process, including members of law enforcement agencies and leaders from both ruling and opposition parties.
Toll Rates Confirmed for Upcoming Bangabandhu Tunnel Inauguration
The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, an engineering marvel running beneath the Karnaphuli River in Chattogram, has completed its primary construction phase and is now eagerly awaiting its official inauguration.
The remarkable Bangabandhu tunnel, representing Bangladesh’s maiden venture into underwater tunnel infrastructure, is fully equipped and ready to facilitate vehicular movement. Plans for its grand unveiling are underway, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set to inaugurate the tunnel in Chattogram on October 28. As part of the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Hasina will address a gathering at the Anwara end of the tunnel.
Subsequently, starting from the day after the inauguration, the tunnel will be open for vehicular traffic, marking a significant milestone in regional transportation.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader noted that the primary construction phase of the tunnel has been successfully completed, and current efforts are focused on resolving any remaining technical issues within the tunnel. This groundbreaking project represents Bangladesh’s entry into the era of underwater tunnels, signifying a monumental achievement and a source of national pride.
According to Md. Manzur Hossain, the Secretary of the Bridges Division, the primary tunnel is fully prepared for vehicular traffic, with ongoing efforts encompassing the establishment of essential infrastructure, including fire service and police station buildings. The overall progress of the tunnel project stands at an impressive 98 percent.
To ensure seamless transportation, the traffic division has devised a comprehensive plan for managing traffic flow both within and around the tunnel area. Inside the tunnel, vehicles will be able to maintain a speed of 80 kilometers per hour.
The tunnel is poised to bring transformative changes to communication within the country, with a focus on enhancing connectivity between the capital, Dhaka, and Chittagong city, as well as the popular tourist destination of Cox’s Bazar.
The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel measures 3.32 kilometers in length, featuring two four-lane tubes spanning 2.45 kilometers each. Additionally, there will be a 5.35 km link road at both the west and east ends of the main tunnel, along with a 727-meter-long flyover at the Anwara end. Situated at a depth ranging from 18 to 31 meters beneath the Karnaphuli River, the tunnel is an ambitious infrastructure project.
The project is a joint effort between the Governments of Bangladesh and China, with construction carried out by the China Communication and Construction Company Limited (CCCC). The goal is to create a ‘One City Two Towns’ concept, similar to Shanghai in China, on both sides of the Karnaphuli River.
As the tunnel’s opening day approaches, a toll fee structure has been established for various types of vehicles, ranging from Tk200 for private cars to Tk1,000 for four-axle trailers, with additional charges for extra axles.
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