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Mega projects in 2022: After two opened, sight set on more in 2023

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Bangladesh witnessed successful completion of two mega projects -- Padma Bridge and metro rail -- in the just concluded year of 2022, marking a massive development in the country's communications network.

Some more communication projects are expected to be ready by this new year beginning today (Sunday), making a paradigm shift in the communications sector considered to be suitable for meeting the needs of the fast-growing economy that aspires to become a developed one by 2041.

State Minister for Planning Professor Shamsul Alam said the government's ambitious development dreams have come true in recent months as a couple of big infrastructures have already been materialised.

At least 2-3 other projects will also become visible within this calendar year (2023) that will accelerate the country's economic growth further, he added.

Big projects like 3.32km Karnaphuli Tunnel, 127km Dohazari-Ghundum railway, Dhaka elevated expressway and BRT from Airport to Gazipur are scheduled to be completed by 2023, in addition to projects in the energy sector, including Rampal and Matarbari power plants.

The opening of Padma Bridge in June last followed by the country's first metro rail MRT-6 from Uttara toAgargaon at the end of 2022 created much enthusiasm among the people, which is expected to increase further in 2023 with the scheduled opening of the entire MRT-6 up to Motijheel by the year-end while, project insiders said, its extended part up to Kamalapur in June 2025.

The Awami League-led government after taking office in 2009 undertook the

infrastructure projects aiming to boost economic growth to double-digit from the 6.0 per cent club a decade ago.

The projects include Dhaka-Chattogram 4-lane highway, Payra port, Joydevpur-Elenga 4-lane, Karnaphuli tunnel, Dohazari-Ghundum railway line, Dhaka elevated expressway, BRT from Airport to Gazipur, Rampal power plant, Matarbari power plant, Matarbari deep seaport, 3rd terminal at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Elenga-Bangabandhu Bridge-Rangpur 4-lane road, Padma Bridge railway line, Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, MRT-1, MRT-5 and Bangabandhu railway bridge project.

Meanwhile, the government received wide appreciation from home and abroad with the successful completion of the country's longest (6.15km) Padma Bridge constructed with own finance of Tk301.93 billion and opened for traffic in June 2022. According to an estimate, the bridge would contribute 1.2 per cent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

The BRT project from Airport to Gazipur would be opened for traffic by the middle of 2023, the project insiders said. The Tk103.44 billion Karnaphuli Tunnel in Chattogram is also expected to be launched in March, 2023.

Officials at the Bangladesh Railway said the 127km Dohazari-Cox's Bazar railway line will be inaugurated by June this year.

The Dhaka Elevated Expressway (DEE) project worth Tk 89.40 billion, being implemented by the government and a Thai company, is expected to be completed within 2023.

The Matarbari coal-based power plant and the PPP-based Rampal power plant are also expected to be commissioned within 2023, project insiders said.

"The countrymen are witnessing the new phase of development … the infrastructures will spur the economy to growth at 8.5 per cent by 2025 and at 9.0 per cent by 2030. And, Bangladesh is definitely heading towards an Upper Middle Income Country (UMIC) by 2041," the state minister told the FE.

"It will also help boost investment and create employment, which are the ultimate goals of a government," Prof Alam said.

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