An unprecedented achievement of Bangladesh in various sectors is now visible and Bangladesh is continuing its efforts to emerge as a developed country and fulfillment of our dream is just a matter of time. Bangladesh has already revolutionized the communication and technology sector and it is now recognized as a country of advanced communication and advanced technology.
The Grand Padma Bridge will be opened in 2022 and at the same time in 2022 ordinary passengers of Metrorail will be able to reach their destination, and of course, in these two huge achievements Bangladesh has shown its capability. The construction of Bangabandhu Tunnel at the bottom of Karnafuli River is nearing completion and this will be one of the revolutionary milestones in our communication sector. Bangladesh's remarkable and huge achievements in various fields are a role model and a new message for the whole world. Bangabandhu Industrial City is a great surprise for the development of Bangladesh and it has instilled a great hope in the minds of all of us and is going to be a new era in the industrialization of Bangladesh. The industrial city, which covers an area of 137 sq km, and 13 industrial factories are in the final stages of construction and domestic and foreign entrepreneurs are waiting for the start of production. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Industrial City is being developed across a wide area of Mirsarai in Chittagong. An industrial city will be a big dream for the people of Bangladesh. Investors claim that if the Corona epidemic had not started, production might have started in the industrial city this year. This huge industrial city is being built on an area of 137 sq km along the Sandwip Channel in the coastal area of the Bay of Bengal. The work of this industrial city is going on in Sitakunda, Mirsarai of Chittagong and Sonagazi Upazila of Feni and its area will be 33805 acres and 41 percent or 14000 acres of it will be only factory area. The remaining 59% of the area will have open space, afforestation, port facilities, housing, health, training and recreation centres. The distance of this industrial zone is 70 kilometers from Chittagong port and airport and its distance from Dhaka is 200 kilometers. This industrial city will contain heavy, medium and light industrial area, ports, commercial area, residential area, modern city, healthcare, infrastructure, education infrastructure, green economic zone and leisure centre and reservoir. The proposed investment of 153 domestic and foreign industries is 20 billion. There are 31 companies awaiting the agreement and about 1.5 million people will be employed in this industrial city. Notable foreign investors are Japan, China, United Kingdom, Singapore, India, Norway, Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands and Australia. Investment sectors are garments, steel, automobiles, electronics, medicines, chemicals, plastics, ceramics, agro-processed products, food products, etc.
Bangabandhu Industrial City has received more investment than any other economic region in the country. Extensive master plan has been adopted to prepare Bangabandhu Industrial City and if this master plan can be implemented in real sense, it is said that it will attract huge amount of investment. Gas, electricity, water and communication systems are most needed to build a big industrial city and Bangladesh is paying due attention to all these areas and these development works are going well. The Bangladesh government wants to establish 100 economic zones by 2030 and plans to employ about 10 million people in these 100 economic zones, which will lead to reduce unemployment rates. These economic zones will create huge export opportunities and increase investment and enrich the economy. To keep the manufacturing sector ahead in the global competition, industrial zones are being set up near ports around the world and Bangladesh government is building several economic zones around ports. Industrial factories require a lot of raw materials and in order to get the benefits of raw materials, port facilities are required.
The closer the port facility is to the industrial zone, the more time and cost will be saved in importing and exporting raw materials. Bangabandhu Industrial City is being constructed near Chittagong Port and there will be all kinds of facilities to travel from Chittagong Port to the industrial city. The great example of industrialization around the port is the Bangabandhu Industrial City and Maheshkhali Economic Zone. These two are being touted as flagship projects in 100 economic zones and initiatives are being taken to attract investment from all economic zones centred on the port. The construction of Matarbari Deep Sea Port Terminal next to Maheshkhali Economic Zone is in full swing. The government has plans to build a port next to Bangabandhu Industrial City. Many factories in Bangabandhu Industrial City will start production from next year and in that case they will have to rely on Chittagong port BEPZA and BGMEA have taken land in Bangabandhu Industrial City and now it is learned that huge investment is coming in the industrial city in the garment and textile sector.
The government has established 100 economic zones across the country and the regulatory body for these economic zones is Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA). Bangabandhu Industrial City is the largest economic zone in Bangladesh and various industries have sprung up in this economic zone and now there are huge opportunities for foreign investment which will enable Bangladesh to move ahead economically in a very short period of time. The Government of Bangladesh is doing all to ensure an investment-friendly environment in Bangabandhu Industrial City.
Bangabandhu Industrial City has so far signed land lease agreements with 122 companies and these companies have to start and complete the work within the stipulated time. The government is implementing various infrastructure development activities in Bangabandhu Industrial City. According to experts, the biggest possibility among the economic zones is that Bangabandhu Industrial City and Industrial Exports will add a new dimension to the country's economic growth. Bangabandhu's Industrial City will open the door to multifaceted possibilities and this will create employment for many people and many people will have the opportunity to live there which will reduce the population pressure on big cities including Dhaka. This industrial city will greatly enrich the tourism industry of Chittagong because in this industrial city not only industries but also many facilities will be available here. However, the authorities have to face many challenges to build this vast economic zone of the country. Providing clean water in such a large industrial area is a huge challenge. The work is being done perfectly by the concerned authorities and the Government of Bangladesh. This industrial city will be one of the tools of economic prosperity of Bangladesh which will enable Bangladesh to integrate itself in the developed countries very soon and Bangladesh will be one of the role models in the world. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dreamed of building an industrially-rich Bangladesh and his worthy daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is going to fulfill that dream. Well-planned industrialization takes a country forward economically and Bangabandhu Industrial City is going to be a big part of that well-planned industrialization.
However, to attract a large amount of domestic and foreign investment, Bangabandhu Industrial City will be a mammoth industrial city that will play a keen role in shaping the future of Bangladesh.
The writer is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College, Kurmitola Dhaka Cantonment.