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Joydebpur-Rangpur 2nd Smart Highways is set to introduce in Dec 2024

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Smart Highways

Bangladesh is set to inaugurate its first smart highway on the Dhaka-Mawa Expressway in December 2023, with plans for a second one connecting Joydebpur with Rangpur expected to be commissioned in December of the following year. The primary aim of these projects is to enhance road safety through the implementation of an Intelligent Transport System (ITS), featuring vehicle detection systems, surveillance cameras, automated number plate recognition cameras, speed detection mechanisms, and variable messaging signs.

The 38-kilometer Dhaka-Mawa Expressway will serve as the pilot project for the ITS and is being developed with the assistance of South Korea’s KOICA under a Taka 126 crore plan. Meanwhile, work is underway to introduce this technology to the 250-kilometer Joydebpur-Rangpur highway, with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) involving a $15 million investment, with completion expected by December 2024.

The government’s motivation behind implementing this technology is to detect vehicles exceeding speed and weight limits, ensuring road safety and holding violators accountable. These initiatives align with the nation’s goal of advancing highway surveillance to match developed countries. The Joydebpur-Rangpur smart highway is part of a regional highway construction project under the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) framework, which includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

National Development Engineers (NDE), a Bangladeshi infrastructure firm, in collaboration with Chinese firm Fiber Home Telecommunication Technologies Co Ltd, is responsible for implementing the Joydebpur-Rangpur smart highway, while Bangladeshi IT firm National Tech has been awarded the contract for the Dhaka-Mawa Expressway.

The project envisions the establishment of a central Traffic Management Centre (TMC) in Mirpur, Dhaka, along with three regional TMCs in Tangail, Bogura, and Rangpur. These centers will monitor the entire highway through the ITS system, including a Vehicle Detective System (VDS) to detect accidents and other obstacles promptly. Surveillance cameras and Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Cameras will help identify traffic rule violators and those exceeding load and speed limits.

The technology will also include LED-enabled Variable Messaging Signs (VMS) on gantries along the highway to provide advance warnings of road hazards or diversions due to accidents. Additionally, a Weigh in Motion (WIM) system will be implemented at various points on the highway to prevent overloaded trucks, a common cause of accidents in Bangladesh.

To ensure strict compliance with load limits, three Axle Load Control Centres will be established at Pakulla in Tangail, Mahasthangarh in Bogura, and Islampur in Rangpur. Trucks exceeding permitted limits will not be allowed to exit these control stations.

In summary, the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) is poised to enhance road safety in Bangladesh by using advanced technology to detect and respond to traffic violations and accidents promptly. Such initiatives are essential to address the country’s high rate of road accidents, often attributed to overloaded trucks.

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Economy

Dhaka, New Delhi Forge Vision for Digital and Green Partnership: PM Sheikh Hasina

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced today (June 22) that Bangladesh and India have agreed on a shared vision for a digital and green partnership aimed at ensuring a sustainable future for both nations.

In a joint statement before the media following her meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, Hasina said, “Both countries endorsed the ‘Vision Statement’ to guide us toward a peaceful and prosperous future. We agreed to have a shared vision for ‘Digital Partnership’ and ‘Green Partnership for a Sustainable Future.'”

The bilateral discussions covered a broad range of topics, including water sharing from common rivers, security, and trade. Hasina emphasized the importance of India as Bangladesh’s major neighbor, trusted friend, and regional partner, highlighting the deep historical ties since Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971.

“Our relations with India are ever-growing at a fast pace,” Hasina noted. “Today, our two sides had very productive meetings where we discussed politics and security, trade and connectivity, the sharing of water from common rivers, power and energy, and regional and multilateral cooperation, among other issues of mutual interest.”

The Prime Minister added, “We agreed to collaborate with each other for the betterment of our people and countries.” She outlined a future course of action aimed at ensuring a smart Bangladesh by 2041 and a Viksit Bharat (Developed India) by 2047.

Hasina mentioned that several Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were concluded and renewed, with announcements made for future collaboration. She noted that recent years have seen sustained high-level engagements between the two countries, including visits by the Indian president and prime minister to Bangladesh in 2021 to celebrate significant milestones in Bangladesh’s history.

Reflecting on her own diplomatic engagements, Hasina recalled her last bilateral visit to India in September 2022 and her attendance at the G20 Summit in New Delhi in September 2023 as the leader of ‘Guest Country’ Bangladesh. “I am now visiting New Delhi for an unprecedented second time in the same month, June 2024,” she remarked.

Earlier this month, on June 9, Hasina attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his new cabinet alongside other world leaders, further underscoring the close engagement between the two nations.

During her current visit, Hasina will also meet with the Vice President and the President of India. She expressed optimism that these meetings will provide deeper insights into enhancing bilateral cooperation.

“This is my first bilateral visit to any country after Bangladesh’s 12th Parliamentary Elections and the formation of the new government in January 2024,” Hasina noted, thanking the Indian government for their warm hospitality.

In her concluding remarks, Hasina paid homage to the Indian heroes who sacrificed their lives during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971, expressing gratitude for India’s contribution to Bangladesh’s independence. She also extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit Bangladesh at his earliest convenience.

 

 

 

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PM Sheikh Hasina Receives Ceremonial Welcome in India

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During her two-day state visit to India, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was warmly received by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a grand ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Upon her arrival at the Presidential Palace around 9:00 am (local time), Prime Minister Hasina was greeted by Modi. A red carpet was rolled out, and a horse-mounted regiment of the President’s Guards escorted her motorcade to the forecourt. The national anthems of Bangladesh and India played as part of the welcome ceremony.

Prime Minister Hasina was honored with a guard of honor by a contingent from the Indian Armed Forces. She inspected the guard and received the salute. Following the inspection, Prime Minister Modi introduced his cabinet members to Hasina, who then introduced her delegation to Modi.

Among the Bangladeshi dignitaries present were Foreign Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Ambassador-at-large Mohammad Ziauddin, Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, State Minister for Posts, Telecommunications, and ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister for Commerce Ahasanul Islam Titu, Principal Secretary M Tofazzel Hossain Miah, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Md Mustafizur Rahman, Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder, Power Division Secretary Md Habibur Rahman, Bangladesh Satellite Company Limited Chairman Dr. Shahjahan Mahmood, Principal Staff Officer of Armed Forces Division Lieutenant General Mizanur Rahman Shameem, Railways Secretary Dr. Md. Humayun Kabir, ERD Secretary Md Shariar Kader Siddiky, Press Secretary M Nayeemul Islam Khan, Speech Writer M Nazrul Islam, Awami League Presidium Member Kazi Zafarullah, and other delegation members.

Later, Prime Minister Hasina visited Raj Ghat to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi by placing a wreath at his Samadhi. Following this, she proceeded to Hyderabad House for a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Modi, which was followed by delegation-level talks.

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ACC: Former IGP Benazir Must Appear by June 23

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Benazir

Former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed has been given a final deadline of June 23 to appear before the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for questioning regarding allegations of amassing illegal wealth, according to ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan. Failure to comply by this date will result in legal action, Khan stated to reporters at the Supreme Court on June 20.

Benazir Ahmed was initially scheduled to appear before the ACC on June 6. However, the deadline was extended to June 23 following a request from his lawyer, who sought an additional 15 days to respond to the summons.

Khurshid Alam emphasized that investigations into the former IGP and his family’s substantial assets, which exceed their known income, are advancing swiftly. Evidence of additional illegal assets has been uncovered, and the ACC intends to petition the court to confiscate these assets soon.

The ACC’s investigation has revealed significant assets in Benazir Ahmed’s name and those of his family members. Amid this probe, Benazir and his family left the country on May 4. Benazir served as IGP from April 2020 to September 2022 and was the Director General of RAB from January 2015 to April 2020. He also held the position of Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) for an extended period.

ACC prosecutors have confirmed that the investigation is ongoing. The court has ordered the seizure of assets discovered so far. Recently, the ACC identified eight more flats in Dhaka linked to Benazir Ahmed and his family: six in Adabor and two commercial spaces in a 14-story building in Badda named Rupayan Limited Square.

In total, 12 flats have been found under Benazir Ahmed’s family’s name, including four previously discovered in Gulshan. Senior Special Judge of Dhaka Metropolitan, Mohammad Assams Zagul Hossain, has ordered the seizure of the eight newly identified flats, approximately 76 bighas (25 acres) of land, and shares in private Citizen Television and Tiger Craft Apparels Limited.

Previously, the court had ordered the seizure of 621 bighas of land in Gopalganj, Madaripur, Cox’s Bazar, and Savar in Dhaka, shares in 19 companies, and four flats in Gulshan. Additionally, the court froze Tk 3 million in savings certificates, 33 bank accounts, and three BO accounts (beneficiary owner’s accounts for share trading). In total, 697 bighas of land have been found in the name of Benazir Ahmed’s family.

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