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Significance of Bangabandhu Tunnel in Bangladesh’s ongoing development process

By Anup Sinha* 

On October 28, Bangabandhu Tunnel, a modern transportation system of great national pride, opened. It's more than a tunnel – it's a symbol of patriotism and national pride. Thank Sheikh Hasina, Bangabandhu's daughter, for building this dream tunnel. His unshakable passion, fearlessness, and relentless growth attitude gave the country the most modern tunnel beneath the Karnaphuli river. This tunnel represents competence and confidence. 
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the President of China laid the foundation stone for this tunnel, the first in Bangladesh and the longest in South Asia beneath the river, on October 14, 2016. The Bangabandhu Tunnel was launched by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on February 24, 2019.
This is another communication system milestone. Bangladesh built the first river tunnel in South Asia. The Indian land tunnels are beneath the river. Still no tunnel. The 'Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel' was built after the Padma Bridge due to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's courageous and imaginative initiative.
China's biggest and most populated city is Shanghai. The Huangpu River, a Changjiang River tributary, split Shanghai. Tunnels beneath the river link the banks. The world now calls Shanghai 'One City Two Towns'. Shanghai is the world's biggest and busiest seaport. Port. Bangladesh's largest marine port is Chittagong. River Karnaphuli separated Chittagong like Shanghai. Dream tunnel created around Karnaphuli river to construct 'One City Two Town' like Shanghai.
This tunnel also benefits government governance. If there is no human-loving public welfare-oriented good ruler, effective administration is impossible. The dreamer is the daughter of the Father of the Nation. Its opening is a joyful and exciting event. Nationwide laughter day.
Development philosophy aims to maximise human wellbeing. The government is proud of the Bangabandhu Tunnel. The tunnel will link the riverbanks as in Shanghai, China. Tunnel length is 3.32 kilometres. The tunnel lies 18–31 metres below the river. Passing will take 3–3.5 minutes. Cars may reach 80 km/h in the tunnel. Bangabandhu Tunnel would cut Cox's Bazar-Chittagong route by 40 kilometres. Cox's Bazar and South Chittagong cars may bypass Chittagong and go across the nation to Dhaka via the tunnel. Traffic in Chittagong will decrease significantly. Domestic and international investors are building coal-based thermal power plants and LNG stations in Matarbari, Maheshkhali upazila, Cox's Bazar. The tunnel will boost foreign investment and significant development projects.
Once operational, the tunnel will become 'two cities in one city' and a corridor beneath the Karnaphuli river, say communications specialists. If the Bangabandhu Tunnel is opened, the economic revolution, South Chittagong industries, and the projected industrial region would speed up deep-sea port activities. All of Chittagong-Cox's Bazar-Teknaf-Saint Martin-Mountain tourism will revolve on the tunnel. The hope of substantial change in different activities, including job creation and poverty eradication, will be huge. Economists believe the Bangabandhu Tunnel will boost GDP. Overall, the Bangabandhu Tunnel represents Bangladesh's wealthy future.
A bridge to South Chittagong has long been needed. Karnaphuli tunnel construction is justified by location. The tunnel was built near the mouth of Bangladesh's driest river, Karnaphuli. Since the other three bridges are upstream in the Karnaphuli river, water velocity is modest. However, the estuary has tremendous velocity. Experts said heavy river currents destroyed bridge supports. A bridge erected in the Karnaphuli river estuary is risky because the water may move dirt from beneath the supports. Bridge siltation also occurs. River navigability was lost owing to buildup. Chittagong port, Bangladesh's principal seaport, was threatened then. Tunnels instead of bridges were used to address future difficulties.
In a 2008 election public meeting in Chittagong's Laldighi Maidan, Awami League President Sheikh Hasina vowed to construct a tunnel. She started building the tunnel after taking control. Additionally, during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's June 2014 visit to China, Bangladesh requested a tunnel beneath the Karnaphuli River. - China An MOU was struck. In October 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the project in Bangladesh. November 2017 saw a loan from China's Exim Bank. On February 24, 2019, Prime Minister Deshratna Sheikh Hasina launched the tunnel's primary work. The 9.3-kilometre tunnel is 3.5 km beneath the river. Two tubes are placed at 36-108 feet deep. Traffic will flow in four lanes at 18–31 metres. The Bangladeshi government will pay 40% of the project's cost, while Exim Bank of China would finance 60%.
The present government has a Chittagong master plan. Plans are for building a tunnel in Chittagong to provide a modern, continuous communication infrastructure. This tube will boost Chittagong's communication infrastructure. Eastern and western ends are connected, therefore travel time and money are taken. It will be affordable. Eastern industrial commodities may be easily transported to Chittagong port, airport, and other areas. The tourist hub of Cox's Bazar, highland Bandarban, and South Chittagong make countrywide travel easy. Visit Cox's Bazar and South Chittagong from Dhaka or elsewhere. Port city entry unnecessary. Three bridges, including Shah Amanat Bridge on the Karnaphuli River, must be crossed. Since the tunnel lies outside Chittagong, traffic will be much lighter. Through the tunnel, the Chittagong Bypass arrives fast.
The southeast Anwara tunnel outlet is linked to the National Highway Road-1 via Patia to Cox's Bazar. Chittagong will be 35-40 km closer if another route is extended to Cox's Bazar via Banskhali-Pekua-Chakria. The tunnel makes it easy to utilise the airport and port, which are 3 km and 15 km from Patenga. The maritime road from Mirsrai, Chittagong, to Cox's Bazar is being built. been made.
The government wants Chittagong to be a global commerce centre. No alternative exists to a regionally built continuous communication infrastructure. This need communication infrastructure initially. To convey commodities, reduce the distance between critical economic corridors. Bangabandhu Tunnel Port It will help economic zones maintain airport-zone contact. India-Nepal-Bhutan can swiftly move commodities from Chittagong port to their nations. Matarbari deep sea port, power station, LMG terminal, LGP terminal, oil terminal, gas transmission, single point mooring project, oil refinery, energy and food storage, tourism, and better contact with Korea and China Economic Zone are under development.
Tourism would benefit greatly from Bangabandhu Tunnel. Patenga Beach and Anwara Parking Beach will draw visitors. Due to the tunnel, Patenga to Anwara will take 20–30 minutes instead of 4 hours. Faujdarhat-Patenga tourism centres would surround Marine Drive and Tunnel. Additionally, Sonadia Eco Tourism Park in Cox's Bazar, Shabrang Tourism, and Naf Tourism in Teknaf will grow.
A sophisticated smart communication system connecting Dhaka-Chittagong-Cox's Bazar will be established via the tunnel. Connecting to the Asian Highway would simplify Myanmar-Bangladesh-India commodities transportation connectivity. Industrialization will produce vast jobs. The nation will prosper socioeconomically and eradicate poverty. Economy Massive expansion will impact the country's economy.
As the adage goes, dreams need guts. All of Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina's aspirations are coming true. After Padma Bridge, Metro Rail, Elevated Motorway, Bangabandhu Tunnel, connectivity system expanded. Sheikh Hasina extended possibilities. The tunnel represents Bangladesh's pride and self-esteem.
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*Security and strategic affairs researcher, freelance columnist

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