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Construction work on a road in Myanmar begins next month

Shakhawat Hossain
From The Financial Express, Bangladesh
February 9, 2005
link to this article.

Construction work on a vital road in Myanmar will begin next month to connect Bangladesh with the East-Asian Highway, sources said.
"A final decision on the route was taken at the meeting of technical committees between Bangladesh and Myanmar in Yangon recently," said Communication Minister Nazmul Huda.

Roads and Highway Department (RHD) additional chief engineer Idris Miah led the four-member Bangladesh side while Public Works, Ministry of Construction managing director U Han Zaw led the six-member Myanmar team.

A member of Bangladesh side on condition of anonymity told the FE that the Myanmar would identify a preliminary route to connect the first 20-km road from Taungbro to Balibazar.

Bangladesh will have to build this part of the road inside Myanmar at its own cost to stay linked with other countries. Otherwise, the Asian Highway would directly link Myanmar with India bypassing Bangladesh.

The committee has agreed to build 130-km of roads to connect Ramu, Cox's Bazar, in Bangladesh and Kyauktaw in Myanmar

The estimated cost of road has been fixed at Tk 9.30 billion. The Bangladesh part of the road will stretch from Ramu to Gundhum while it will start at Taungbro in Myanmar, Nazmul Huda added.

The construction of the 20-km road is necessary because the existing track between Taungbro and Maungdaw is not suitable for further development, said the member quoting the Myanmar technical committee.

According to the decisions of the meetings of the technical committees, the Public Works, Ministry of Construction, Myanmar would complete survey of the alternative track within next two months.

The work on the portion of the route, which will involve building of a bridge at Taungbro, is expected to start by March 2005.

The Myanmar expressed its willingness to carry out the construction work under the joint supervision and monitoring by both the countries. It, however, kept the option open for Bangladesh to execute the construction work by hiring Myanmar contractors, sources said.

According to the communication ministry officials, the financial package of and others matters will be finalised soon.

As part of the government's "Look East Policy", the proposal for the road that will connect Bangladesh with Myanmar Thailand, China and other Asian countries was made during Prime Minister's visit to Myanmar in 2003.

The prospect of the road became brighter when the head of the Myanmar government visited Bangladesh last year and also laid the foundation of the road at Teknaf.

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