This is the second part of an exclusive series on development initiatives that have changed the picture of the country’s 64 districts over the last decade and a half
Sylhet in Bangladesh’s northeast is a divisional headquarter, but it saw development activities less than what was needed to cater the needs of the growing population, many of whom are linked to London.
After coming to power in 2009, the Awami League government has taken a number of development projects to improve road connectivity and infrastructure, creating employment and helping reshape the overall economic sphere of the expatriate-dominated region.
Some of the projects have been implemented in Sylhet during the current government’s tenure include the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hi-Tech Park, a central bus terminal, and a medical university in the district, that have changed the face of the district remarkably.
The list does not end here. Sylhet has now got a new jail, the Marine Academy, Tamabil Land Port, Osmani Airport Export Terminal, a four-lane Badaghat Bypass, and two government high schools during the current tenure of the government.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hi-Tech Park (Electronics City) has been built in Companyganj Hi-Tech Park. Sony-Rangs have been allocated 32 acres at the park, Irish Electronics Industry 3 acres, Together IT 3 acres, Datacenter 10 acres, Boat Club 20 acres while a five-star hotel has been allocated 2 acres. These industries will employ around 50,000 people.
Project Director (Technical) Md Golam Sarwar Bhuiyan said that the infrastructural development of the land area is at the final stage. A site office, administrative building, ICT Business Centre, Sheikh Kamal IT Training Institute have been constructed inside the project. A beautiful bridge has been built. After reviewing the last 50 years of flood conditions in the project area, construction of flood control dams is also underway. Electricity sub-stations have been installed and gas connections have also been provided.
Recently, State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak said the main objective of this project is to enrich the export basket of the country and then meet the needs of the domestic market by producing electronic products, parts and software. The project area will have two parts–one will have hardware and software industries, while the other will have housing, school-college, hospital, and shopping centre.
Hi-Tech Park Authority Managing Director GSM Zafar Ullah said the park has created a revolution in the whole country. “The boys and girls of our university are looking for work. Many do not get work and suffer from depression. Hi-tech parks, knowledge parks, software parks, IT training centres, and incubator centers are being created for them in 99 places in the country,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Knowledge Park, funded by the Government of India, is being constructed next to the Hi-Tech Park. Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad laid the foundation stone of the project last week inside Sylhet Electronics City in the Par Mouza area.
The expatriate welfare minister said that 1,000 young people will get training at the Knowledge Park. As a result, three thousand employment opportunities will be created.
Director General (Additional Secretary) of the Information and Communication Technology Directorate Md Mustafa Kamal has said that there will be a start-up floor facility in the Knowledge Park where plus and play facilities will be ensured.
The Hi-Tech Park is located at the 20th kilometre of the Sylhet-Companiganj-Bholaganj Road. Land has been acquired for the project on the side of Khalitajuri Bil on the road. Its distance from Sylhet airport is only 12km and 22km from the railway station. This electronic city is being developed under the supervision of the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority. This city is being built as part of the government’s plan to set up 10 electronic cities across the country. The work on this project started in 2016.
Kadamtali Bus Terminal
The newly-built Kadamtali Bus Terminal in Sylhet has a modern architectural style and covers an area of 7 acres, which cost the government around Tk63 crore. The World Bank has financed the project.
Sylhet City Corporation acting chief engineer Noor Azizur Rahman said that the bus terminal has been built with the most modern facilities in the world.
Those related to the construction work said that the work on the entire terminal was divided into three parts. The length of the departure building located in Part-I is 350 feet.
Part-II Arrival Building is similarly about 300 feet in length. There is a bus bay, a 510-seat waiting space for passengers, and a 30-seat VIP lounge in Part-II of the terminal.
A Multipurpose Wellfare Center has been constructed in Part-III towards the rear of the terminal. There will be a 24-bed rest room for the owners and drivers association, shower facilities, offices, locker facilities, a canteen and a large multipurpose auditorium for meetings and events.
Sylhet Medical University
In 2018, Sylhet Medical University started its journey as the fourth medical higher educational institution in the country. Currently, the activities are running on a temporary basis at the residence of the principal of Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College.
Project officials said that the university will be built in Dkashin Surma Upazila of Sylhet. For this, 80.31 acres of land will be acquired in Goalgaon and Hazrai Mauza of Mollargaon Union. Two residential and 10 non-residential buildings will be constructed inside the project area. There will be a 1,000-bed hospital as well.
The 12 kilometre-long “Kumargaon-Badaghat-Airport road 4-lane upgradation project” is currently in its final stage.
The total cost of the project has been estimated at Tk727.63 crore. The project will be implemented by June 2024. If the road is upgraded to 4-lane, the transportation system between Sylhet airport and Sunamganj, Moulvibazar, and Habiganj districts will get easier, and traffic congestion will ease. Besides, the construction of alternative roads for trucks and other heavy vehicles will ease traffic congestion in Sylhet city.
Export terminal at airport
An export cargo terminal has been constructed at Osmani International Airport at a cost of Tk50 crore. Its facilities include a state-of-the-art Explosive Detection System (EDS), Dual View Scanning machine, and an Explosive Trace Detection Machine.
However, packing house, cold storage, and plant quarantine facilities have not yet started their functions at this airport.
Tamabil Land Port
Tamabil Land Port has increased Bangladesh’s trade with the northeastern states of India, including Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland. Former finance minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith and former shipping minister Shahjahan Khan inaugurated the land port. Bangladesh imports coal, stone, limestone, and fruits through the country’s 11th land port. It exports bricks, processed food, and cosmetic products to India through Tamabil. Built at a cost of Tk69.26 crore, this land port is established on 23.72 acres of land.
During this government’s tenure, the Sylhet Central Jail was shifted from Sylhet city to Badaghat, while a walkway was constructed along the city’s Dhopa Dighi area. The city also got two new government schools during the tenure of this government. They are Lakkatura Government High School and Dakshin Surma High School.
Source: Dhaka Tribune.