Expat experts term
it a big failure
Staff Correspondent : The Daily Star
Benapole-Teknaf route's not being included in the Asian Highway
is a big failure of the government, expatriate Bangladeshi communications
experts yesterday said.
travel distance for the east-west traffic can be reduced to a
significant extent by use of Benapole-Teknaf route, said a paper
prepared by New York-based senior transportation engineer Shoaib
Read out at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity auditorium,
the paper also said the route should have been included for the
best interest of Asian nations including India, Bangladesh and
Scholarsbangladesh.com, a website-based organisation of the expatriate
Bangladeshis, organised the press conference.
Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain was the chief guest at the
press conference addressed also by ME Chowdhury Shameem, founder
and president of scholarsbangladesh.com, and Dr Anowar Karim,
a Washington-based Bangladeshi transportation expert.
All the eastern and southeastern nations including China could
possibly expand their business with the Middle East, Europe and
East African nations by taking advantage of the Asian Highway
network and existing Indian seaports and the Chittagong Port,
"But poor initiatives, slow action, improper assessment of
consequences, weak policy settings and diplomatic relations with
neighbouring states seem to have accounted for the government's
failure in negotiation on the Asian Highway," Shoaib observed
in his paper.
A professional associate of Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), Inc. of
New York, one of the world's leading transportation engineering
firms, he said the government can still discuss with the experts
the routes proposed by the Economic and Social Commission for
Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and reach a consensus to be a part
of the Asian Highway network.
It will be hard to bear the burden of the losses resulting from
the failure on such a significant issue of national interest,
the paper said, adding that the government must set strong policies
by forming teams of well qualified policy experts on the issues
concerning national interest.
Beside, the transportation engineer urged the ESCAP to reconsider
the option to include Benapole-Teknaf route in the Asian Highway.
Another Washington-based Bangladeshi transportation expert Dr
Anowar Karim said Bangladesh could still regain it by making an
agreement with Myanmar on Teknaf-Myanmar route.
Another important option for the country can be making internal
highway system in line with the Asian Highway route so that Bangladesh
could link itself to the network at any time. "In that case,
if the country fails to connect with the Asian Highway, it can
still do business with the neighbouring countries."
expert said, "The government should go for privatisation
if it fails to mobilise resources to that end."
jurist Dr Kamal Hossain said Bangladesh has missed out on many
an opportunity as it has in case of the Asian Highway. "Let
us work together and utilise the resources we have to free the
country from poverty."
of Bangladesh-Myanmar Route via Teknaf in the Context of Asian