Govt also approves second Padma bridge project; counts on public private partnership
The government plans to build a 34-kilometre elevated expressway for quick entry and exit of vehicles to and from Dhaka, and facilitating transit trade with India, Nepal and Bhutan.
The Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway Project (DAEEP), to be implemented in Public Private Partnership (PPP), was approved yesterday at a meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs at the secretariat in the capital. Finance Minister AMA Muhith chaired the meeting.
The committee also approved a project for a second Padma Bridge at Paturia-Goalanda point under a PPP framework.
The expressway will connect Hazrat Shahjahal International Airport with the National Memorial in Savar via Abdullahpur, Ashulia, the DEPZ and Chandra on the North Bengal Highway, said a report of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology that was assigned by the Bridge Division to conduct an initial study on the project.
It will be an extension of the 26-kilometre Dhaka elevated expressway linking Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Dhaka-Chittagong highway near Shanir Akhra.
The project will cost nearly $2 billion, said the Bridge Division.
The expressway will facilitate movement of transit vehicles between Bangladesh and Nepal, Bhutan and India, and smooth movement of goods-laden vehicles from Chittagong port to Dhaka EPZ and adjoining trade zones, said the Buet report submitted in June.
It will help ease traffic congestion and allow trucks to move across the capital throughout the day. Trucks are now barred from entering the capital from 8:00am to 8:00pm to avoid tailback.
The expressway will provide five gateways at Abdullahpur, Jirabo, the EPZ, Jirani and Nabinagar to enter Dhaka from adjoining national highways.
It will also have four intersections at Turag, Ashulia, Baipail and Chandra, the report said.
Once the project is completed, nearly 40 million people from 30 districts will be able to travel to and from Dhaka at lower costs and in less time.
However, Buet said a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) should be conducted as the project could result in a loss of lands and dislocation of industrial, commercial and residential structures.
The Bridge Division told the meeting that the prime minister has already given directives to implement the project.
It said a notice has been issued inviting tenders from investors by July 31.
SECOND PADMA BRIDGE
The Bridge Division told the committee that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has already conducted a study on the bridge, and said the construction of the 6.10-kilometre bridge with a rail link would cost more than Tk 13,121crore.
The Division requested the development partners including the World Bank and China to finance the project. Since it did not get any positive response from them, the project would be implemented in PPP.
The Bridge Division said the prime minister has consented to floating tender for prospective investors for the project.
Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) placed a draft of Power Purchase Agreement for buying electricity from India.
However, the committee sent the proposal back to the BPDB for further review.
The proposal would be approved by September, said the finance minister.
-With The Daily Star input