Economic network

China is proposing to build the Chattogram metro ‘smart city’ rail network with its money. In return, he wants a share of the township’s profits

Officials from the Chattogram Development Authority, or CDA, confirmed the expression of interest, saying China would pay the cost of a feasibility study for the metro. The CDA will inform the government of the proposal through the Ministry of Housing and Public Works for a final decision.

“A shoal area exists in the sea near the designated location for our bay terminal at Mirsarai. China has proposed to build a township on the reclaimed land there,” said engineer Kazi Hasan Bin Shams. Chief of CDA.

Chinese companies want to take over the “smart city” and share the profits with Bangladesh after selling the plots, he said.

“In exchange, they want to build the metro with their own funds. The government has nothing to pay.”

When asked if the project on reclaimed land would have adverse effects on the environment, Kazi Hasan said the land was far from shipbreaking yards in the area.

According to him, nowadays “modern technology” is used to reclaim land, and Chinese companies are quite capable. The companies said they had technology that would make water transparent.

“It’s the ‘dead end’ of the sea. It will have no adverse effect on the sea if the land is reclaimed there. Many countries, including Singapore, have built such townships on reclaimed land over the past two decades. Chinese companies said they had previous experience in this type of work. »

He is also pleased with the pace at which Chinese companies are building the Karnaphuli Tunnel and the Padma Bridge.

South Korea has also expressed interest in building Bangladesh’s second metro.

Representatives of the Korea International Cooperation Agency or KOICA expressed their willingness to conduct a feasibility study during a meeting with Bangladeshi officials, including Information Minister Hasan Mahmud, on February 8. South Korea wanted to donate $5 million for the study.

Now the government will decide which offer to accept, said Kazi Hasan. But, he added, Chinese companies have not said how much profit they expect from the “smart city”.

Previously, China had offered to carry out a feasibility study for the metro in Chattogram, and the authorities had asked them to finance it.

“Otherwise, it will be an additional expense for us if the project does not move forward after the study.”

The Chattogram City Corporation conducted a feasibility study in 2019 through a private company, Basasthan Engineers and Consultants Limited, which recommended three rapid transit metro lines in the city, which would cost around 860 billion from Tk.

But experts believe Chattogram Metro could cost up to Tk 1 trillion or more. Chattogram businesses requested a metro system comprising three to four routes linking the Mirsarai economic zone, industrial areas and growth centers on the outskirts of the city.

The Chinese proposal did not include a budget for the canton.

Kazi Hasan declined to reveal the names of the four Chinese companies, but China Railway Construction Company Limited offered to do the feasibility study during a meeting with LGRD Minister Md Tazul Islam on January 13. four Chinese companies that sent the latest proposal.

Comments from the CRCCL were not immediately available.

In the future, the industrial city of Bangabandhu, the Karnaphuli tunnel, the proposed economic zone on the other side of the tunnel and a deep-water port and energy center in Matarbari will be part of bustling economic zones, which are expected to attract businesses and investors everywhere. the globe.

The city of Chattogram desperately needs a metro system, economist Dr Moinul Islam has acknowledged. But the government, he added, must now review the proposals and decide which to choose.

But he warned the government to be careful before making a decision on the Chinese bid to build a township.

“Chattogram definitely needs rapid transit from Kalurghat to the airport. I myself have been pushing for this for the past few years. But the government needs to decide who will implement the project,” Dr Islam said. , former president of the Bangladesh Economic Association. .

“China built a Chinese city in Colombo, which turned out to be a big problem for Sri Lanka,” he said of the bay township proposal.

“The offer may seem lucrative, but it needs to be considered thoroughly,” he continued, “accepting such a proposal without prior consideration may cause problems later.”