Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today inaugurated the country’s first longest marine driveway paving ways for tourists to enjoy the beauty of the world’s largest sandy sea beach and socioeconomic development of Bangladesh’s far east region.
Inaugurating the 80-kilometre marine driveway along the coastal belt from Kalatali to Teknaf, the prime minister announced that the existing highway from Chittagong to Cox’s Bazar would be developed to a four-lane road considering the growing importance of Cox’s Bazar for the country’s economy.
Sheikh Hasina said the marine driveway would not only facilitate the tourists to enjoy the beauty of the picturesque Cox’s Bazar but also contribute to the socioeconomic development of the area which was long been neglected by the post 1975 rulers.
Minister for Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Qader, Army Chief General Abu Belal Mohammad Shafiul Huq, secretary of the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges MN Sidduque also spoke on the occasion.
Parliament members, chiefs of the three services and senior civil and military officials attended the function.
Special Works Organisation of Bangladesh Army under the supervision of the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges constructed the 5.5-meter wide marine drive 14 months ahead of the schedule.
The prime minister extended her thanks to Bangladesh Army for construction of the driveway amidst many hurdles. She recalled memories of six army personnel who died in landslides during construction of the project.
In this regard, the prime minister recalled the role of the army in reconstructing the damaged Buddhist temples and houses in Cox’s Bazar few years back and reconstruction work in CHT after signing of the peace accord in 1997.
Saying that Cox’s Bazar, one of the favourite tourist destinations of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina said, “We want to develop the country in the same way my father wished for.”
The prime minister said importance of Cox’s Bazar is very important following establishment of Bangladesh’s claim over huge sea boundary with India and Myanmar.
Pointing out the steps taken by her government for development of Cox’s Bazar, the prime minister said Bangladesh Biman will operate flight at least once a week with wide-bodied Boeing from Dhaka. Cox’s Bazar airport would be developed as a modern airport, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has a plan to develop Cox’s Bazar not only as a tourist area but also as a hub of sports, cultural activities, education and research.
She said a dedicated ship would be procured for marine research to tap the sea resources for socioeconomic development of the country. A football stadium would be constructed beside the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium in Cox’s Bazar, she added.
The prime minister said the government has already taken projects for rehabilitation of the people who were evicted for expansion of the Cox’s Bazar airport. Dry fish market would be constructed to help them carry out their profession, she said.
She urged all to maintain harmony among various religious and ethnic groups in Cox’s Bazar saying Bangladesh would be developed as a peaceful country in South Asia.