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Dhaka-Sylhet highway expansion likely from December

RHD signed two contracts with two China-BD joint-venture companies to this effect

Dhaka-Sylhet highway-widening work is likely to be another pain for commuters as the authorities concerned are going to start the first 35-kilometre work before exhausting peripheral activities.

To this effect, the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) signed two contracts with two China-Bangladesh joint-venture companies at a programme on Monday.

Sources said the land acquisition, utility shifting as well as relocation of underground cables are yet to be done.

Project director AK Mohammad Fazlul Karim told the FE that they expect to start the work in December by completing other activities.

Longjian Road and Bridge Company Ltd of China and Max Infrastructure Ltd of Bangladesh will widen 18 kilometres from Kanchpur intersection to Chhonpara Bus Stand under the first contract (DS-01) at Tk 9.25 billion.

Zhengzhou City Highway Engineering Corporation Ltd of China and Max Infrastructure Ltd will carry out 17km work from Chhonpara to Narsingdi BSCIC at Tk 13.98 billion.

The RHD has estimated 120.58 acres of land for first two packages-DS-01 and DS-02, but Narayanganj and Narsingdi deputy commissioner offices are yet to do the land survey to ascertain the affected people.

According to RHD documents, 43.74 acres will be required for DS-01 and 76.84 for DS-02.

The Dhaka-Sylhet four-lane project was taken after a feasibility study in 2015.

For delay, the RHD reviewed the study and did a new detailed design to develop 209.32-km highway with 66 bridges of 6.2km stretch, 305 culverts, five railway overpasses, eight road overpasses, 37 U-turns and eight roundabouts.

The total land for the Tk 169.18-billion project is estimated at 1033.57 acres.

Sources said as the first 35-km corridor has several industries, relocation of some industries might be needed.

“After completion of the survey, everything will be clear,” said a project official, adding that area-based land-acquisition proposals were sent to DC offices from one to two years.

But joint surveys of some proposals were completed.

According to project documents, the RHD placed the proposal for acquisition in Rupganj to the DC office in March 2020, but its joint survey work is still ongoing.

Ahead of the signing ceremony, the RHD hosted a consultation with stakeholders for the first time taking into account these issues.

Representatives from Palli Bidyut Samity, Dhaka Power Distribution Company, Titas Gas, deputy commissioners and Highway Police were present, among others.

Road transport and highways division secretary ABM Amin Ullah Nuri moderated the session, urging all to complete respective work for completing the country’s second most-important highway development work in time.

He said allegations are always raised against the RHD but proper and timely completion of a project demands integration with all stakeholders.

Dhaka Divisional Commissioner Mohammad Khalilur Rahman, Narayanganj Palli Bidhyut Samity-02 senior general manager Mohammad Musfiqul Hasan, Mohammad Shahadat of DPDC, Gazipur Highway Police Super Mohammad Mostafizur Rahman, among others, spoke.