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What Awami League has Said Regarding the Mega Project in the Manifesto

Dhaka: The Awami League has pledged to review and implement mega projects realistically in its manifesto for the Twelfth National Parliament Election. The party has also expressed its intention to take on additional mega projects based on their economic viability.

On Wednesday (December 27), Awami League President Sheikh Hasina announced the manifesto with the slogan ‘Smart Bangladesh: Visible Development, More Job Opportunities This Time.’

In the Awami League manifesto, it is stated that ongoing mega projects for achieving high economic growth are of utmost importance. Keeping this objective in mind, under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Awami League government has undertaken and implemented more than two dozen mega projects in the last three terms.

Highlighting past achievements and progress in development, the manifesto mentions the inauguration of the Padma Bridge on June 25, 2022. Just as the Padma Bridge stands as a symbol of national pride and honor, it has become part of the Asian Highway network, allowing Bangladesh to enter a new era.

Additionally, the construction of a 3.32-kilometer tunnel beneath the Karnaphuli River in Chittagong has enabled Bangladesh to make its entry into South Asia as the first country with such infrastructure. As a result, the port city of Chittagong has transformed into the ‘One City, Two Towns’ model.

The manifesto points out the lack of infrastructure in roads, electricity, and gas as the biggest obstacles to the country’s development. It emphasizes the importance of the inauguration of the railway line connecting several districts in southern Bangladesh with Dhaka through the Padma Multi-Purpose Bridge on October 10, 2023. Simultaneously, the government has extensively developed the power sector, making the country self-reliant in electricity.

The manifesto further mentions that the construction of the Dhaka Metro Rail will be the most revolutionary step towards achieving a ‘Smart Bangladesh.’ It will not only free the capital city residents from unbearable traffic congestion but also enhance economic dynamism.

On the other hand, the inauguration of the third terminal at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on October 7 and the advancement in communication facilities through the inauguration of the Shahjalal Elevated Expressway section from Kaula to Farmgate have been highlighted in the manifesto.

Additionally, events like the inauguration of the deep-sea port in Matarbari on November 11 and the entry of the first train from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar, covering a 102-kilometer railway line, signify Bangladesh’s connection with the Trans-Asian Railway corridor in the future.

Regarding the progress in railway projects, it is mentioned that the Khulna-Mongla railway line has been connected to the country’s rail network for the first time. Moreover, the manifesto highlights the inauguration of the nuclear pressure vessel for the first and second units of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant on October 18 and 11, 2021, respectively, marking Bangladesh’s 33rd member of the nuclear club.

Despite these advancements in mega projects, the Awami League has admitted in its manifesto that several cost-intensive projects have been halted, awaiting reconsideration. Efforts will be made to reevaluate and implement those projects that are economically feasible. New projects that are economically viable will be considered and accepted without hesitation.

Although ambitious projects like the bullet train have been canceled, and an extensive review has been initiated since 2018, with nearly Tk 10 billion spent until 2022.

Furthermore, the manifesto mentions the joint venture of the governments of Malaysia and Bangladesh to construct a 39.24-kilometer Dhaka Eastern-Western Elevated Highway at an expense of Tk 16,389 crore. Although work on this project has not yet commenced, the detailed design for the Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway has incurred an expenditure of Tk 100 crore.

The manifesto concludes by acknowledging that the government’s development vision has faced setbacks in practical implementation. Despite having the power for three consecutive terms, the government has failed to realize its commitment to creating a planned and safe road network.

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