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Govt wants to complete key mega projects before polls

by tbhdesk

The government is in a hurry to complete several key mega projects by the end of this year, aiming to gain extra mileage in the upcoming general elections.

These projects include Metrorail Line-6, the Bangabandhu Tunnel, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), the Dhaka Elevated Expressway, the Third Terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), and the Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar Rail Line.

These projects are in their final stages, with over eighty percent of the work completed. Their pace has been escalated to ensure completion by this December, according to project officials.
The government plans to finish these schemes prior to the national polls, expected to be held in January next year, as a gift for the public and a potential appeal to voters, analysts suggest.

However, Planning Minister MA Mannan does not agree with the idea that the government is rushing to complete these projects solely to win over voters. “The completion of these mega projects will be beneficial for the country, and we are striving to achieve that. To this end, we have increased our close monitoring and allocated sufficient funds for them,” Mannan said.

He also stated, “This is a matter of great pride for us. There is no connection between these projects and the elections.” The Agargaon-Motijheel section of the Dhaka metrorail project is projected to be open to the public by the end of October, with the Uttara-Agargaon first phase already in operation.

This dream project saw a 95.39 percent overall progress until June this year, with the construction work for the Agargaon-Motijheel section advancing 95.20 percent. The construction of the viaduct and the installation of necessary equipment on it have already been completed. Work on station staircases, escalators, ticket counters, and side roads is now in full swing.

Project officials have revealed that a trial run on the Agargaon-Motijheel section was carried out on July 7th, putting extra load on the track to test how much the train line bends in the 30-foot long spans near Bijoy Sarani and Karwan Bazar’s SAARC fountain.

Currently, authorities are testing the signalling and telecommunications system. Additionally, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the country’s first 3.2km tunnel, built 18-31 metres below the Karnaphuli River bed, in September. “So far, the project has progressed 98 percent, and we are now adding the finishing touches. We hope that it will be possible to complete the project within its deadline,” said project director Harunur Rashid Chowdhury.
The government is considering opening the Airport-Tejgaon portion of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway, which is being built from the airport to Kutubkhali to alleviate the persistent traffic congestion in the capital, by this October. Street lights have been installed from the airport to the Banani part of the elevated expressway, and the asphalt pavement, ramp construction, toll plaza work, and load scale installation are all nearing completion.

Project officials have reported that efforts to advance the project have been intensified. The third terminal of the HSIA is also expected to be operational by this October. Once the terminal opens, it will benefit 12 million people annually. So far, construction has made 81 percent progress.

“Work is progressing at full speed. We hope to complete it within the stipulated timeframe,” said project director AKM Maksudul Islam, without specifying the current project activities.

The government is hopeful of starting a direct train service from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar before the next elections, as the Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar rail line is likely to be commissioned before October. Until June, its progress was at 86 percent.

Despite scepticism, project officials remain hopeful of opening the Bus Rapid Transit or BRT project from the Airport to Gazipur by the end of December. A section of this project has already been opened to the public. Currently, construction of ramps, connecting roads, and a flyover is progressing rapidly, according to project officials.

Apart from the urgency created by the upcoming elections, the Planning Minister is hopeful that these stepped-up efforts will lead to the successful completion of some of the mega projects.

He stated, “Elections are a time-bound constitutional process. However, it is not appropriate to hurriedly complete mega projects for that reason alone.”

Source: The Daily SUN.

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