A survey is underway to assess the feasibility of building a tunnel alongside Bangabandhu Bridge as an alternative passage under the Jamuna River, said State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury.
Talking to reporters at the secretariat on Wednesday during an event organized by Bangladesh Secretariat Reporters Forum (BSRF), he said an alternative passage along the Bangabandhu Bridge is needed.
"A feasibility study is underway. If its results are found to be positive, then the country's second tunnel after the Karnaphuli one will be built there," he said.
About the encroached lands along the river banks, he said, "We want to give some time to the industrial establishments on the river banks as they've made huge investments there. Government lands have been demarcated while notices have been issued to the encroachers in this regard."
To secure 10,000 kilometers of waterways, illegal establishments have been removed from nearby rivers, the state minister said, adding that 3,000 kilometers of waterways have already been secured.
Khalid Mahmud also spoke about the government's consultation with the World Bank regarding the proper management of the Jamuna River under a project named 'Jamuna Economic Corridor'.
Afeasibility study will be carried out on the project. "If the survey shows positive results, millions of hectares of land could be reclaimed, ending the long-standing riverbank erosion problem. And a satellite city will be built on the land to be acquired in two phases -- Economic Corridor-1 and Economic Corridor-2."
The state minister also spokeabout the government's plan to procure three world-class cruise vessels with helipad facilities by the end of 2023.
Presided over by BSRF President Tapan Biswas, the event was moderated by forum General Secretary Masudul Hoque.