A mere 18 days following the inauguration of the Bangabandhu Tunnel, Chattogram reached a significant milestone with the commemoration of the inaugural unveiling of two groundbreaking infrastructure projects: the elevated expressway and the long-anticipated Patenga Container Terminal at the Chattagram port.
On Tuesday, November 14, 2023, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated and laid foundation stones for 10,041 structures and houses as part of 157 development projects, including the Sheikh Hasina Swarani (formerly Purbachal Expressway) and the first elevated expressway in Chattogram.
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“I have no regrets. I’ve elevated the country to the status of a developing nation. I’ve achieved a lot,” the premier said.
The ceremony, conducted through a video conference from the Gono Bhaban, not only highlighted the government’s unwavering commitment to national progress but also emphasized its dedication to fostering inclusivity.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina commenced and laid foundation stones for various projects in Chattogram:
A significant portion of the projects, numbering 4,644, focused on diverse development infrastructures. These initiatives, spread across 24 ministries and divisions, involve an impressive investment of Tk 97,471 crores. The comprehensive strategy underscores the government’s dedication to enhancing the country’s overall infrastructure, paving the way for sustained growth and development.
As part of the broader initiative, 5,397 houses were allocated for landless and homeless citizens under the Ashrayan-2 project. This effort not only addresses the critical issue of housing but also aligns with the government’s vision for social welfare and inclusivity.
Among the noteworthy completions is the Purbachal Expressway, recently rebranded as the Sheikh Hasina Swarani, signifying its significance in the nation’s infrastructure landscape. Additionally, the inauguration of the first elevated expressway in Chattogram heralds a new era in the region’s transportation network, promising efficiency and connectivity.
Ministry-wise Breakdown of Achievements
Housing and Public Works Ministry: The completion of 15 projects, including the Sheikh Hasina Swarani, highlights the ministry’s pivotal role in shaping the nation’s physical infrastructure.
Shipping Ministries: Fifteen projects, strategically implemented by various agencies, contribute to the enhancement of maritime facilities, emphasizing the government’s multifaceted development approach.
Primary and Mass Education Ministry: Four key projects, including the construction of 2,023 government primary school buildings, underscore the government’s commitment to education at the grassroots level.
Education Ministry: Premier Sheikh Hasina also inaugurated 1,259 buildings across the country, signifying a continued focus on advancing the educational landscape.
Women and Children Affairs Ministry: Four day-care centers, integral to supporting working parents, were inaugurated as part of a broader initiative to empower women and nurture the nation’s future generations.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry: Two technical training centers in Manikganj and Narayanganj, inaugurated by the Prime Minister, mark strides in empowering the workforce with relevant skills, aligning with global employment demands.
A total of 101 centres across the country were linked virtually to the programme. At the function, a video documentary on the overall development of Bangladesh under the current Awami League government was screened. This interconnected approach reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring that the benefits of progress are felt across every corner of the nation.
Expressway to be ready for traffic in two months
However, there is a slight anticipation as vehicles will have to wait for an additional two months before gaining access to the expressway.
Construction progress stands at an impressive 85%, with the expressway linking Lalkhan Bazar to Chittagong’s Shah Amanat International Airport on the verge of completion. The primary 14 km flyover, spanning Tigerpass, has already been finalized. Nevertheless, the remaining sections of the flyover and the construction of 14 ramps from Tigerpass to Lalkhanbazar are still underway.
Patenga container terminal to boost trade
After an extensive construction period lasting about 17 months, Patenga Container Terminal has been inaugurated at Chittagong Port.
Serving as a crucial hub for approximately 92% of the nation’s sea-based import-export trade, Chattogram Port currently operates through 19 jetties spread across three terminals: General Cargo Berth (GCB), Chittagong Container Terminal (CCT), and Newmooring Container Terminal (NCT).
Upon the opening of the Patenga terminal, the total number of jetties will be expanded to 23, enhancing the port’s capacity and capabilities.
Traditionally, ships approaching the main jetty of Chattogram Port navigate a river route covering approximately 14 kilometers from the mouth of the River Karnaphuli. In contrast, the Patenga container terminal significantly reduces this distance, with the journey to the Karnaphuli estuary spanning only 6 kilometers. This development is poised to streamline maritime operations and contribute to the efficiency of Chattogram Port.