CHATTOGRAM: The construction of Karnaphuli Tunnel, a dream project which can change Chattogram forever by connecting the north and south of the district, is on course to be completed within 2022 as scheduled.
The project work is going on in full swing, with around 40 per cent of work done, sources said.
Project Director Harunur Rashid expressed the hope that the project would be completed within the scheduled timeframe.
The sources said various segments of the tunnel have been arriving to the site regularly from China and the construction work of a power station at Anwara for the tunnel is going on.
Officials said a total of 381 acres of land are needed to construct the tunnel and that almost all the required land have been acquired.
Sources said work for setting up consultancy firm's offices, power sub-station, site camp and construction yard and sand filling work is going on full swing. Also, construction of necessary infrastructure, including residences for Chinese engineers and employees, has already been completed.
Meanwhile, a tunnel boring machine to be used for excavation has been imported from China recently, they said.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Housing and Public Works Ministry Engineer Mosharaf Hossain said, "Karnaphuli tunnel is a dream project for Chattogram. Once the development projects, including the tunnel, are completed, the face of Chattogram will be changed."
"The tunnel will connect the north and south of Chattogram. Foreign investors would be interested to invest in both northern and southern parts of Chattogram, as the connectivity and communication through the Karnaphuli tunnel and ring road will be the most modern," he added.
President of Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Mahabubul Alam said, "Karnaphuli tunnel is a dream project of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. It will open the door of investment and trades in Chattogram."
"Once the tunnel is built, many industries will be set up on the other side of river Karnaphuli, which would speed up the economic activity. A new city will be developed in the southern part of Chattogram," he said.
"Also, more industries will be set up in the KEPZ and in the exclusive Chinese economic zone at Anwara upazila in Chattogram, which would create big employment opportunities," he added.
According to sources, the total cost of the Karnaphuli Tunnel Project is estimated at Tk 84.46 billion ($1.05 billion). China is providing Tk 55.05 billion ($705.9 million) for the project and the Bangladesh government the remaining amount.
According to the sources, the total length of the proposed tunnel will be around 9.092 km, including 3.40 km under the Karnaphuli river, with an approach road of 4.89 km alongside 740 metres of bridges linking the main port city and western side of the Karnaphuli with the heavy industry-prone eastern side of the river.
The tunnel will reduce the road distance between Chattogram and Cox's Bazar, apart from facilitating the heavy traffic on Dhaka-Chattogram highway entering the port city to go to other parts of Chittagong division.
The multilane tunnel route will pass through the river close to Navy College on one side and Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) and Karnaphuli Fertiliser Company (Kafco) on the other.
The tunnel will connect Chattogram port and Anwara upazila and is expected to make communication between Chattogram and Cox's Bazar easier. It will also ease traffic congestion on two bridges over the Karnaphuli river.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the excavation under the Karnaphuli river on February 24 in 2019.
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