The transport sector has been allotted Tk 263.29 billion in the proposed budget for the 2015-16 fiscal, with the highest sum for a single project being set aside for the construction of the prestigious Padma bridge.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Thursday placed the proposal for the development and expansion of roads, bridges, railways, ports, water transport, and airports, maintenance of existing roads, improvement in passenger service, construction of the Padma bridge, and for measures to ease traffic congestion.
Muhith said he expected to open the Padma bridge to traffic by 2018.
He proposed to allocate Tk 74 billion more for the project.
The proposed allocation for the construction of the bridge is Tk 285.07 billion, including an additional Tk 82.86 billion proposed in 2014-15 fiscal year.
“Considerable progress has been made in the construction of the long awaited Padma Bridge with domestic financing.
“The massive work that has begun on the banks of the mighty Padma has infused a deep sense of exuberance and alacrity in the local masses,” he said.
The finance minister said 61 bridges would be reconstructed in order to improve the communication network in the western part of Bangladesh.
The government also had a plan to build a second Padma bridge, he said.
The BRTC will procure 300 double-decker and 100 articulated buses with the aim to improve the quality of passenger service, he said.
“Besides, we are going to set-up an e-Ticketing clearing house to provide uninterrupted transport service in coordination with different transport operators,” he added.
About the development of the railways, Muhith said the cost of a 20-year master-plan to implement 235 projects was around Tk 2.34 trillion.
Akhaura-Agartola rail connectivity would be established as part of expanding the regional railway network, he said.
He mentioned several projects, including the construction of metro-rail, to be taken up to ease traffic congestion.
The finance minister said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed with the China Communication Company Limited to construct a tunnel beneath the Karnaphuli River.
“It will enhance the connectivity between the eastern and western parts of Chittagong as well as reduce traffic congestion,” he said.
He added that steps were being taken to develop the port infrastructure with Bangladesh’s own funds in the preparatory stage of the construction of the Fast Track Paira Port project.
“A few friendly countries have expressed their interest to finance the construction of a deep-sea port in Sonadia on G-2-G basis,” he added.
Muhith also said the government had plans to construct the Khan Jahan Ali airport and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman airport.