Roads and Highways Department (RHD) is embarking to upgrade the road connecting the Ashuganj river port to Akhaura land port to a four-lane national highway.
The 50.58 kilometer long link road will make better communication between Bangladesh and north-eastern part of India which will ultimately facilitate the sub-regional connectivity among South and South-east Asian countries.
To this end, the RHD has signed an agreement with Indian company AFCONS Infrastructure limited to implement the “The improvement of Ashuganj River Port-Sarail-Darkhar-Akhaura Land Port Road as National Highway” project at a hotel in the capital on Thursday.
The 50.58km existing road upgradation to a four-lane highway will be implemented under three packages worth taka 3567.85 crore. Of these, government will provide taka 1312.08 crore and taka 2255.77 crore will come from Indian Line Of Credit (LOC-2).
Under the Work Package 1 with contract price taka 572.45 crore, 12.211km intersection road between Ashuganj and Sarail will be improved. Besides Sarail to Dharhar 27.054km long intersection will be upgraded worth Tk1873.55 crore under Package 2. Both the packages will be implemented by AFCONS Infrastructure Limited.
The construction work of two packages will begin by February next and total construction work will be completed within 3 years. Under the project, 2 railway overpass, 16 bridges, 36 culverts, 3 underpasses, 10 foot over bridges and other necessary works will be done.
Apart the packages, RHD will also sign a deal with RITES-MEPC JV for project management consultancy spending Tk117.65 crore.
RHD official said the four-lane road will be interlinked with the Asian Highways as well as the Chittagong sea port and improve transport connectivity between Dawki-Tamabil land port. After finishing the project, journey between Kolkata and Agortola will become faster and smoother.
Currently, Indian trucks take around 30 days to meet the distance between the two Indian cities, and businesses spend around Rs4,500 as travel costs. Upgrading the road can promote safe and faster flow of traffic between the ports.
On the other hand, Bangladesh will become benefited as Indian businesses would use Bangladeshi transports, water vessel as well as ports during their end to end journey, which could boost up the trade and economy.
Bangladesh also charges tariff and fees for using Bangladesh’s river and land port as well water and roadways.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader was chief guest in the signing ceremony.
He said, ‘Our relation with India is interwoven with the bloodstream of the Liberation War. We have already solved many existing issues between the two countries peacefully.’
‘India is supporting to Bangladesh to develop. The relation with India will reach a new height after the completion of the 4-lane highway. I hope the project will be completed timely ensuring quality,’ he added.
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das said ‘India is committed to fully support Bangladesh as a development partner. The deal is one of them, which will help increase connectivity between Bangladesh and India. I hope this relation will further be developed in future.”
Among others Md Nazrul Islam, Secretary of Road Transport and Highways Division, Roads and Highways Department Chief Engineer Ashraful Alam, Project Director Aurun Alo Chakma, Additional Chief Engineer Md Shawkot Ali and AFCONS’s Vice-president Aunup Kumar Guru were also present in the ceremony.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the project on July 20, 2017. Earlier Bangladesh government signed a dollar credit agreement with Exim Bank of India on March 09, 2016.