Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, the first-ever river tunnel in the country, will usher in a new era of economic growth and advancement in the communication sector, Mahbubul Alam, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), expressed the hope to the Financial Express (FE).
Mahbubul Alam said, "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel is a 'dream project' of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. After its inauguration, the landscape of Chattogram will remarkably change. The infrastructure will open a new era for business and communications in Bangladesh, particularly Chattogram."
"With this, the north and south portions of Chattogram will be connected. The tunnel will open a new gateway to investment and trade in Chattogram. It will give a fresh impetus to the economic activities of the country," added the apex trade body chief.
Mahbubul Alam went on to say that based on the massive infrastructure, a new city will be developed in the southern part of Chattogram and more industrial units will be set up in the Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) and at the exclusive Chinese Economic Zone in Anwara upazila of the district ,creating huge employment opportunities.
Also talking to the FE, Economist Professor Dr Mainul Islam said the tunnel will play a significant role in improving the country's economy in the long run.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the tunnel formally on October 28 this year.
The multilane tunnel under the Karnaphuli River will directly connect Chittagong port and south Chattogram, particularly Anwara upazila, and is expected to make communication between Chattogram and Cox's Bazar easier.
The tunnel will also ease traffic congestion on two bridges over the Karnaphuli River.
The tunnel will pass through the river close to Navy College on one side and the KEPZ and Karnaphuli Fertilizer Company (KAFCO) on the other.
The tunnel will cut the road distance between Chattogram and Cox's Bazar, apart from facilitating heavy traffic on the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway entering the port city to go to other parts of Chattogram division.
Project Director Harunur Rashid said, "100 per cent construction work of the tunnel has been completed. We are checking the safety system now."
According to the sources, the total expenditure cost of the tunnel project was Tk84.46 billion while China provided Tk55.05 billion.
The rest of the amount was provided by the Bangladesh government.
The total length of the tunnel will be around 9.092 kilometres including 3.40 kilometres under the Karnaphuli River with an approach road of 4.89 kilometres alongside 740 metres of bridges linking the main port city and western side of the Karnaphuli along with the heavy industry-prone eastern side of the river.