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Bangladesh to go ahead with Dhaka Sylhet road upgradation on its own after failed negotiations with China

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina

The Bangladesh government has decided to upgrade the 209km Dhaka-Sylhet highway in the next six years. It will have six lanes, along with service lanes on both the sides, the Daily Star reported.

The project, Dhaka-Sylhet Corridor Road Development will “improve regional road connectivity and ensure faster and uninterrupted vehicular movement.” The newspaper said. The upgradation work was to be financed primarily by China which had committed $21.5 billion in soft loan. However, negotiations between the two countries failed even after signing a memorandum of understanding in 2016. Bangladesh has now decided to go ahead with the project on its own.

“Besides, there was an allegation against the Chinese company of offering bribes to a top government official to give a go-ahead to the work at inflated costs,” the Daily Star reported.

Now, the chunk of the funding will come from the Asian Development Bank.

The project will boost regional transport network, which includes the Asian Highway Network, BIMSTEC and Saarc corridors. This will also facilitate trade.

"The road development project will open up road connectivity with Nepal, India, Myanmar and China. Our communication at the international level will get a boost," the newspaper quoted the country’s planning minister MA Mannan as saying.

"Bangladesh always turns its head and looks towards the west. Now this has to change. It is needed to go to the east horizon. And this project is the way to that," he said.