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SAM

Published:
2018-06-27 12:26:46 BdST

AIIB seeks to finance two transport sector projects


FT ONLINE

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has shown interest in financing two projects in the country's transport sector for improving regional connectivity as well as boosting trade and business.

Of the projects, Sylhet-Tamabil road upgrading project is on the priority list, as three missions of AIIB have analysed its feasibility, said sources concerned.

Financing in Shambhuganj bridge construction project in Mymensingh city will be confirmed after conducting a feasibility study. An AIIB delegation has assured of conducting the study on the project.

The sources also said a technical mission of AIIB indicated to finance the US$ 300-million Sylhet-Tamabil four-lane project after holding a meeting with the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) officials last week.

The team also visited the 58-kilometre road, which is going to be connected with Indian hilly border of Shillong.

Negotiation for signing the loan deal will start after receiving report from AIIB, they added.

"AIIB is more or less positive about financing the Sylhet-Tamabil four-lane highway construction project. Negotiation will later fix the amount of funds, to be provided for the project," said an official.

He also said two other missions of AIIB also met RHD officials in last two months.

RHD has taken the Sylhet-Tamabil four-lane project after completing feasibility study and detailed design work of Dhaka-Sylhet-Tamabil highway under a project of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

RHD initially planned to construct the entire 286-km Dhaka-Sylhet-Tamabil highway at a time.

But it has to separate the 226-km Dhaka-Sylhet four-lane highway construction work after a Chinese company expressed interest for it.

However, due to failure in negotiation with the Chinese firm, RHD has now planned to undertake the Dhaka-Sylhet highway project with the government fund.

Now, with AIIB's interest, funding crisis for upgrading the entire corridor is likely to be solved.

The Dhaka-Sylhet-Tamabil highway is a part of the Asian Highway 02, crossing Bangladesh through Banglabandha and Tamabil via Joydebpur, Dhaka, Kanchpur and Sylhet.

The government has planned to establish a special economic zone in Sylhet.

RHD officials said AIIB's interest in the Shambhuganj bridge construction project is for establishing link with two land-ports on the other side of the Brahmaputra River.

The bridge will also improve connectivity with Mymensingh city.

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