UNB: The government plans to increase the budget in transport and communication sector by 14 per cent annually to make it cost effective and efficient to ensure socioeconomic progress of the country.
Total spending for this sector is projected at Tk 861.62 billion in FY2023-24 while Tk 787.76 billion in FY 2022-23 with Tk 720.28 billion in the current FY 2021-22.
The allocation to the sector in FY2018-19 was Tk 450.54 billion, in FY2019-20 Tk 537.43 billion and Tk 601.33 billion in FY2020-21.
According to a budgetary document, a well-organized transport and communication network ensures balanced production and distribution of raw materials and final products, preserves price stability and ensures rapid industrialisation.
To achieve SDGs, government will continue to sustain and expand the on-going public investments in road, rail, bridge, shipping, civil aviation and telecommunication sectors in order to support a rapidly-growing economy, it said.
The Road Transport and Highways Division has taken initiative to implement important plans like construction of new roads, renovation of old roads, construction of flyovers/ overpasses, construction of bridges/culverts etc.
To modernize the road transport system, the Division is implementinginitiatives to upgrade important highways of the country to 4 ormore lanes. Meanwhile, 453 km of national highways have beenupgraded to 4 lanes.
In the medium term, the document stated, plans have been made to upgrade all national highways to 4 lanes, and strengthen and widen other highways.
The priorities include the introduction of digital systems in traffic management and control, ensuring safe roads, and online tax and other fee collection.
The Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation Act 2020 has been enacted to increase road safety.
The priority list of the Bridges Division includes- construction of roads, bridges, and tunnels under rivers.
“One of the priorities of the Division is the timely completion of the country’s Padma Multipurpose Bridge project.”
Other projects, either being implemented for being processed for implementation, include 46.73 km long ‘Dhaka Elevated Expressway’(being implemented), 3.4 km long tunnels under the river Karnaphuli (being implemented), 24 km long ‘Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway’ (being processed), Dhaka Subway (being processed), and Dhaka East-West Elevated Expressway (being processed), the document added.
Initiatives have been taken to build country-wide rail network connecting all parts of Bangladesh.
Expansion of railways, construction and renovation of new railways, conversion of railways to dual gauge and double line, opening of new and reopening of suspended railway stations, introduction of new trains and expansion of train services, procurement of train coaches etc. are in progress.
The government has adopted a 30-year master plan for the overall development of the railways at a cost of Tk 553, 662 crore during 2016-45.
The government has started implementing the Plan on a priority basis, and as part of it, projects for construction of Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar and Dhaka-Payra high speed trains have been taken up.
The Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar-Gundum Rail Link project is progressingfast.
The document mentioned that priorities of the Ministry of Shipping include maintaining the navigability of the waterways, safe and uninterrupted inland waterways, seaports, land ports, important channels and necessary infrastructure development and maintenance.
In the medium term, massive dredging of rivers will be undertaken, it said.
Dredging activities have been undertaken in the old Brahmaputra, Dharla, Tulai and Punarbhaba rivers to restore the navigability of 10,000 km of waterways.
Capital and maintenance dredging program of Rabnabad Channel of Payra Port has been undertaken with the funding Bangladesh Infrastructure Development Fund (BIDF) for the development of strategic infrastructure.
In order to make Bangladesh a regional hub, various steps have been taken to develop the infrastructure of the country’s airports and ensure easy and safe passenger transport.
In order to increase the passenger handling capacity at Hazrat ShahjalalInternational Airport to 12 million, the runway capacity has been increased to 10,500 feet and the construction of the third terminal isunderway.
In the medium term, the document mentioned, initiatives will be taken to enhance the quality and capacity of international and domestic airports.
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