He spoke as the guest of honour at the closing ceremony of the Chittagong International Trade Fair 2014 (CITF) on 12 April. And revealed that the government has laid out plans to introduce metro rail in Chittagong.

The construction cost of the tunnel will be USD 0.8 to 0.9bn, Obaidul said, adding that China Communication and Construction Company will invest in the project.

After construction of the tunnel, a new city will be built on the other side of the Karnaphuli river, he said.

The project feasibility study has found a 3.4km passageway to be feasible for it at the estuary of the river as it ensures connectivity of the Chittagong city with the proposed deep-sea port and Cox’s Bazar, the tourist town.

The study has confirmed the multi-lane tunnel route would pass through the river with Navy College on one side and Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) and Karnaphuli Fertiliser Company (KAFCO) on the other bank.

The width of the river is about 700m and its depth is 9 to 11m and it flows into the Bay of Bengal 19km downstream from Chittagong.