After initial delay, half of the 10 first track mega projects have finally gotten some momentum, ushering hope for positive change in the country’s economy and people’s livelihood. Besides, work of the floating LNG Terminal in Maheshkhali, one of 10 projects with a combined value of Tk 2,73,636 crore (USD 32.44bn), has been completed and has been operating since September last year.
The 2400 MW Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the biggest single project worth Tk 1,13,092 crore, 1320 MW Rampal Power project and metro rail are progressing as scheduled. Work of the much-anticipated Padma Bridge is going on in full swing after issues over some of the piers have been addressed while work of the 1200 MW coal-fired power plant in Matarbari of Maheshkhali has witnessed significant progress lately. However, Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar Rail Link, Padma Rail Link and Paira Deep Sea Port are running behind schedule mainly due to delays in signing loan agreements, land acquisition and finalisation of project design.
The government has put the Sonadia Deep Sea Port project on hold for the time being. Seventy-one percent of the overall work of the long-awaited Padma Bridge project has been completed while 81 percent of the work of the main bridge has been completed as of June. The fourteenth span of the 6.15km bridge has been installed, making 2,100 metres of the bridge visible, and authorities hope the bridge will be usable by next year.
Once constructed, the bridge will directly connect the capital with 21 southern districts, through roads and railways. The country’s first-ever metro rail will be able to start operation on December 16, 2021, when the nation celebrates its golden jubilee of independence. Originally, the project’s implementation period was 2012-2024. However, the government wanted to complete it within December 2020. Now, the entire part (the 20km) will be operational within 2021.
Once completed, a total of 24 trains together will transfer 60,000 passengers every hour in both directions. Work of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant Project is going on as scheduled. Having begun in 2016, the project is scheduled to be completed within 2025. Although the project saw slow progress at the preliminary stage, it has made significant progress in last fiscal year with Tk 17,927 crore spent till May this year. The government allocated around Tk 15,000 crore for the project this fiscal year. Construction of the power plant consists of two power units in Rooppur of Pabna with a capacity of 1,200 MW each.
Work of Matarbari power plant is going on in full swing with 25 percent of the work completed as of May this year. The Tk 35,984 crore project is scheduled to be completed by 2023. The 1320MW Rampal Coal Power Project near the Sundarbans, whose work started in April 2017, is scheduled to be operational by June 2020. Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company is implementing the Tk 16,000 crore project, which drew criticism from environmentalists for its potential adverse impacts on the Sundarbans. Most of the projects witnessed delay mainly due to uncertainty over funding, the terror attack in 2016, complexity over designs and planning and land acquisition. But the complexities have apparently now been addressed. Once the projects are completed, the communication and power sectors will get a huge boost, traffic congestion in Dhaka city will reduce, and ultimately trade and tourism will be benefited immensely. Various studies show that the country’s GDP will increase by 3 to 4 percent after the completion of the projects.