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.
PM Sheikh Hasina Advocates River Conservation in Development Plans
On Monday (December 04), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized the importance of environmental preservation in all development plans. During a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, she urged authorities to prioritize waste management and water flow maintenance in city planning.
PM expressed regret over past unplanned development, particularly during the illegal assumption of power in 1975, which neglected environmental concerns and led to river encroachments.
She highlighted her government’s commitment to protecting rivers, restoring navigability, and preventing pollution. Hasina recalled initiating river dredging during her first term and stressed the need for ongoing efforts to combat river erosion. The Prime Minister addressed the issue of industries and sewage lines dumping waste into rivers, causing increased pollution, citing the unpleasant state of the Buriganga River.
Emphasizing waste management as a top priority, Hasina suggested establishing small treatment plants across Dhaka to safeguard the capital’s rivers. She underscored the necessity of preserving Bangladesh’s rivers despite the inevitability of floods and emphasized creating buffer zones along rivers for water preservation during the rainy season.
UN Honors PM Sheikh Hasina for Climate Advocacy & Leadership
Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud presented the prestigious ‘Asia Climate Mobility Champion Leader Award’ to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence, Ganabhaban, in the morning. The award was initially received on behalf of the Prime Minister by Dr. Hasan Mahmud and the Head of the Bangladesh delegation during the high-level segment of COP28.
Acknowledging Prime Minister Hasina’s exemplary leadership in championing climate actions and advocating for vulnerable communities globally, the Global Centre for Climate Mobility, supported by IOM and the UN system, conferred the award during a significant high-level panel on the sidelines of COP28 in Dubai on December 1. The event, co-hosted by the President of the UN General Assembly, Ambassador Dennis Francis, and the Director General of IOM, Amy Pope, highlighted the urgency of climate-forced migration and displacement.
During the UNGA78 Climate Mobility Summit, Prime Minister Hasina emphasized the critical issue of climate-induced migration. The recognition through this award is a testament to her continuous efforts and Bangladesh’s advocacy in addressing climate mobility challenges.
In addition to Prime Minister Hasina, other countries such as Botswana, Suriname, and Palau were also honored, representing Africa and the Pacific. The Global Centre for Climate Mobility actively collaborates with the United Nations system, regional intergovernmental organizations, and development finance institutions to find cooperative and comprehensive solutions for climate mobility.
The award ceremony is part of a series initiated during COP27, where five African Heads of State and Government were honored as Climate Mobility Champion Leaders.
Bangladesh Triumphs in IMO Council Election-2023
Bangladesh has emerged victorious in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) council election 2023 in category C, securing 128 votes out of the 175-member council. This marks the first time Bangladesh has won in the highly competitive category C of the IMO, as reported by the Bangladesh mission in London.
Following the election results, Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK and Permanent Representative to the IMO, Saida Muna Tasneem, expressed gratitude to IMO members for electing Bangladesh as a Council member. She reiterated Bangladesh’s commitment to the IMO’s charter of actions for dealing with maritime affairs. Tasneem extended thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Shipping in Bangladesh, specifically acknowledging Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her decision to participate in the IMO council election in 2023.
“Bangladesh’s election to the International Maritime Organisation’s elite 40-member council is a testimony of the confidence and trust that the IMO member states and the International Maritime Community place in Bangladesh’s leadership as a maritime nation, led by the prudent leadership of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” stated the Bangladesh envoy.
Previously, Tasneem was elected by consensus as the Vice President of the 33rd assembly of the IMO during which the election took place.
The IMO, as the only UN specialized body, regulates global shipping standards that impact ship-operating flag states, seafarers, and maritime safety, security, and marine pollution.
Bangladesh, heavily reliant on international trade, with 90 percent conducted via the sea, aims to address key issues such as the transition of maritime ports into green and digitalized entities and compliance with the Hong Kong convention on ship recycling and the use of greener fuels. These matters will be on Dhaka’s negotiation agenda at the IMO council during the term 2024-25.
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