Feature: Chinese-built underwater tunnel to benefit Bangladeshi people

2022-December-28 10:38 By: Xinhua

DHAKA, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- Liakat Ali Chowdhury, a resident of Bangladesh's port city of Chattogram, is delighted to see a Chinese-built transport project will drive local economic development and promote regional connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative.

"My place of birth is at Bandar village under Anwara Upazila (sub-district) of Chattogram district," Chowdhury, who lives on the eastern side of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, told Xinhua.

He said people from Anwara in the southern part of Chattogram, some 242 km southeast of the national capital Dhaka, will be immensely benefitted by the tunnel as there is going to be another export processing zone (EPZ) in Anwara.

There has already been a South Korean EPZ with roughly 50,000 people working there, he added.

"We expect more local people to get employment when the Chinese will set up factories in the new EPZ," said Chowdhury.

He thanked all the Chinese people who are working for the construction of the 9.3-km tunnel.

"We express our deepest gratitude," he said. The tunnel built by China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) marked the completion of its south tube last month.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined a celebration virtually from her official residence in Dhaka on Nov. 28, appreciating all efforts involved in the construction of the project.

The first underwater tunnel in South Asia is located at the estuary of the Kanapuri River in Chattogram with a design speed of 80 km per hour for traffic. It connects the east and west banks of the river.

"The Chinese people are very hardworking. I know about them," said Omar Farooq, a local resident of Chattogram.

"I thank them because they are building the tunnel in our country. I thank our government and I thank the Chinese people," he added.

Calling it a development project for the people of Chattogram and for the people of Bangladesh, Md Nazim Uddin, another local resident, said, "The tunnel we see now is still like a dream."

"The funding given by the Chinese government is very beneficial for Chattogram and for our country we are proud of," he said.

Li Zheng, a project manager from CCCC, said, "I have worked here for five years. We try our best and we want to open the tunnel for the public as soon as possible."

"We believe that after the completion of the tunnel, it will help with the economic development of Bangladesh. This is also a very important project of the BRI and a very important part of South Asia road network. It will improve the transportation condition of the whole South Asia," he said.

This tunnel has been built with a preferential credit by the Export-Import Bank of China. The project has created more than 5,000 jobs so far, trained local people on infrastructure construction skills and promoted local economic development.

The project is also the first large-diameter underwater shield tunnel undertaken by a Chinese company overseas.

Editor: WJH
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