• Monday, December 22, 2014

Freedom in the air

Dhaka Expressway

Now Chinese firm on the scene

Ital-Thai inks $1.062b deal; work likely to begin next month

M Abul Kalam Azad

The Ital-Thai Development Corporation Limited has entered a $1.062 billion contract with China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) for building Dhaka Elevated Expressway.

The country's first elevated expressway project, which remained stuck for two years, is now expected to begin next month.

“It's almost certain that the first-phase work (airport to Tejgaon) of the expressway will begin in September,” Bridges Division Secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam told The Daily Star last night.

He said the elevated expressway had two hurdles -- managing money by Ital-Thai and acquiring land.

“With the help of the army, we have almost resolved the problem over acquisition of land from airport to Mohakhali. The financial problem has also been resolved with the agreement between CRCC and Ital-Thai.”

The Bangladesh government and Ital-Thai in 2011 signed a Tk 8, 703 crore deal to construct a four-lane expressway under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

The Ital-Thai has been facing financial crisis since signing of the agreement in January 2011 due to non-availability of any financier for the project in the absence of feasibility study, detailed design, environment impact assessment and resettlement plan.

But no bank came forward with a loan.

The joint venture company finally reached an understanding with the Chinese company, sources in the communications ministry said.

Prof Shamsul Hoque, who is actively involvement in the expressway project, said Ital-Thai can make such a deal according to the agreement with the Bangladesh government.

“Before striking the deal with CRCC, Ital-Thai consulted us,” he added. Everything regarding the new deal will be known once Ital-Thai briefs them about it.

Ital-Thai President Premchai Karnasuta, in the presence of the Chinese firm's Vice-President Hu Fan, formally informed the communications ministry in June about its understanding with CRCC.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated construction of the 21km expressway on April 30, 2011 with a hope that it will be completed in three and a half years.

The expressway will connect the city's northern and southern parts. The main expressway route starts from Shahjalal International Airport and runs along the rail alignment through Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Moghbazar and Kamalapur Railway Station.

It will then touch Golapbagh, south of Kamalapur stadium and east of Jatrabari before meeting the Dhaka-Chittagong highway near Kutubkhali.

Published: 12:01 am Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Last modified: 10:06 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2014

TAGS: China Railway Construction Corporation Dhaka Elevated Expressway Bridges Division Secretary Dhaka Expressway Ital-Thai Development Corporation Limited

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