Jhenaidah-Jashore highway to get six lanes

The government has taken up a mega project worth Tk 4,187.70 crore for upgrading Jhenaidah-Jessore Highway to 6 lanes to improve cross-border connectivity with neighboring countries towards boosting Bangladesh’s trade and commerce.

Besides, the project titled “WeCARE Phase-I: Development of Jhenaidah-Jessore Highway (N-7)” will unlock the region''s potential by stimulating the economy of districts, linking farms to markets, connecting Dhaka with the western region.

This will help enhance trade, transit and logistics along the corridor.

The approval came from the Ecnec meeting held with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

In the meeting, a total of seven projects involving Tk 10,702.23 crore were approved by the Ecnec held at the NEC Conference Room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined the meeting from Gonobhaban through a video conference where some other ministers and state ministers also attended with Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned.

At the end of the ECNEC meeting, the Planning Commission Senior Secretary Md Asadul Islam and other members of the Planning Commission disclosed to details to the media.

Md Asadul Islam said a total of seven projects were approved involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 10,702.23 crore. “Of the total project cost, Tk 6,459.27 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh while Taka 4,242.96 crore as loan assistance.

Of the approved seven projects, five are new while two are revised projects.

The first phase of the upgrading Jhenaidah-Jessore Highway 6 lanes project will upgrade 48 km of the N7 highway between Jashore and Jhenaidah and improve about 600 km connecting rural roads and 32 rural markets or growth centres to stimulate the local economy, the planning commission senior officials said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the poorest hard with the loss of jobs and income, they said adding that to help them recover from the shock, the project will support immediate social protection and livelihoods to the vulnerable rural people by engaging them in labour-intensive civil works.

The Roads and Highways Department under the Road Transport and Highways Division will implement the project by December 2023 as the Prime Minister has reduced the stipulated time frame for completing the project by two years. 

Of the total project cost of Taka 4,187.70 crore, the World Bank will provide Taka 2,705.65 crore while the rest Taka 1,482.04 crore will come from the government fund.

Under the project, the Western Economic Corridor will connect the northwestern part of the country with Benapole, Bhomra land port and Mongla seaport. 

This corridor has a lot of importance as a cargo route between Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal. 

Besides, the people of 16 districts in the south-west will benefit through this corridor once the construction of Padma Bridge is completed. 

This corridor will facilitate sub-regional road connectivity with India and Nepal through Banglabandha and with India and Bhutan through Burimari in the future. 

For this, with the loan assistance of the World Bank, it has been proposed that the Department of Road Transport and Highways develop 6 lanes including 46.50 km road service lanes from Jhenaidah to Jashore.

The main activities of the project are: Acquisition and rehabilitation of 151.4 hectares of land, construction of 48.50 km of pavement, 1,648.29m flyover, four bridges of 196.12 m, 55 culverts of 198.10 m, 12 pedestrian overbridges, and underpass. 

Consulting Services for Construction and Project Implementation Supervision, Intelligent Transportation Systems and Optical Fiber Cable System Design Consulting Services, Project Implementation Unit (PIU) Support Consulting Services, NGO Services for Rehabilitation Implementation, Phase-1 and providing consulting services for the preparation of Feasibility Study and Detailed Design of Phase-III, consulting services for environmental and social management and consulting services for internal audit.