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Chief Representative's Speech

November 25, 2015

Contract Signing Ceremony for Kanchpur, Meghna and Gumti Bridges
(25 Nov. /2015 @ Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel, Dhaka)

Honorable Minister, Mr. Obaidul Quader, Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges,
Honorable Members of Parliamentary Standing Committee,
His Excellency Mr. Masato Watanabe, Ambassador of Japan,
Mr. M.A.N. Siddique, Secretary, Road Transport and Highways Division,
Mr. Feroz Iqbal, Chief Engineer, Roads and Highways Department,
Mr. Md. Saidul Hoque, Project Director,
Distinguished Members of OSJI Joint Venture,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Assalam-u-Alaikum, Namasker and Good Morning

It is indeed a great pleasure for me to witness the contract signing of the construction of Kanchpur, Meghna and Gumti 2nd Bridges and rehabilitation of existing Bridges financed with Japan's ODA Loan. This is one of the "Flagship' projects under the bilateral development partnership.

Our partnership in developing the national road transportation network of Bangladesh especially with the Roads and Highways Department has grown over the years. Many of you may recall that the existing Meghna and Gumti Bridges were built with Japan's Grant Aid in the 1990s. Some major projects we partnered with RHD are Jamuna Bridge Access Road, Paksey Bridge, Rupsha Bridge, and Eastern Bangladesh Bridge Improvement Project. These roads and bridges exert enormous impacts on the overall economic development and reducing poverty for the people of Bangladesh. Our cooperation is also going to be extended in some other major projects including forthcoming Western Bangladesh Bridge Improvement Project. JICA has also been providing technical cooperation to enhance the capacity of the Roads and Highways Department for bridge construction and maintenance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

These three major bridges are located between Dhaka and Chittagong on National Highway No.1, the most important economic corridor of Bangladesh. Dhaka-Chittagong connectivity, which corresponds to Japan's backbone corridor between Tokyo and Osaka, is not only the very main artery of the country but also a vital route of regional connectivity.

Last year, Honorable Prime Ministers of Japan and Bangladesh agreed to elevate the bilateral relationship to a new height called Japan-Bangladesh Comprehensive Partnership. They also announced the initiative of BIG-B or the "Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt" as a means to guide their development partnership. The BIG-B initiative is going to accelerate industrial agglomeration along Dhaka-Chittagong-Cox's Bazar belt and beyond. Hence, improvement of Dhaka-Chittagong corridor by expanding these three bridges exactly forms the core of BIG-B.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges and JICA agreed to adopt for the Project ‘cutting-edge' technologies, like Steel Pipe Sheet Pile Foundation and Steel Narrow Box Girder, for long term sustainability with lesser cost for operation and maintenance. It manifests the principle of Japanese assistance which places emphasis not only on building physical structure but also on building capacity of Bangladeshi people through "learning by doing' in projects.

We are pleased that "OSJI Joint Venture" comprised of internationally reputed Japanese firms, namely Obayashi Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, JFE Engineering Corporation and IHI Infrastructure Systems Co. Ltd. have been selected as the contractor for the Project. We expect the JV not only to ensure quality but also to help transfer of advance technology to local engineers.

Distinguished Guests,

Thanks to concerted efforts of the people involved, the Project has so far progressed ten months ahead of the original schedule. I hope that all the parties concerned will continue cooperation to keep the pace and do their best in performing each duty of providing a safe and congenial on-site environment, ensuring high standard of construction and others.

Shobaike Onek Donnobad. Thank you very much.




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