The government has finally decided to take out loan from Asian Development Bank (ADB) to reconstruct and expand the Dhaka-Sylhet highway, sources said.
They said the costly Dhaka-Sylhet four-lane project has been included in the pipeline of ADB for funding till 2025.
The project was first included in the ADB's pipeline in 2015 for funding in 2019 as it completed the feasibility study and detailed design of the corridor up to Tamabil.
But the project was dropped from the pipeline after the government of Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese company to implement it with Chinese government's fund in 2016.
"Now the government has decided to seek support of ADB. Its last mission has included the project for funding under SASEC (South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation)," said an official.
The four-lane project has been facing setback since the government cancelled the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC).
As the ADB dropped the project from its pipeline following the MoU, the government decided to fund the entire project. But the Planning Commission rejected this proposal on the grounds of lack of enough fund.
After the Planning Commission's rejection, sources said, the government requested the ADB again to provide loan. But it changed its decision again after several other Chinese companies showed interest in the same project.
The Chinese government earlier agreed to fund the Tk 130-billion project as it was among 28 projects signed during the Chinese President's visit to Bangladesh in October, 2016.
Signing of a MoU with China Harbour was also a part of the agreement.
But the MoU was cancelled as negotiations with the Chinese company failed in 2017. It proposed Tk 170 billion to implement a 226-kilometre road which was double than RHD's estimated cost.
RHD estimated the cost of the four-lane project at Tk 126.65 billion after rescheduling its construction rate in 2015. The initial project cost, after feasibility study and detailed design, was estimated at Tk 91.84 billion.
The cost was estimated for construction of 286 kilometres of the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway which will lead to Tamabil that will serve as a regional corridor linked with the Indian State of Meghalaya.
Economic Relations Division sources said the last ADB mission has revised its five-year plan and incorporated several road-sector projects including Dhaka-Sylhet Highway as it is a part of the Asian Highway.
ADB has already funded the corridor from Tangail to Rangpur under SASEC-I and II to establish link with the Indian border.
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