Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday asked the authorities concerned for ensuring proper compensation for the people affected by the country’s largest integrated infrastructure project to be implemented in Moheskhali and Matarbari at a cost of Tk 1.5 trillion.
The premier came up with the directive at a project presentation of Moheshkhali-Matarbari Integrated Infrastructure Development Initiative (MIDI) Project her office in the morning.Initially, the project will acquire 20,000 acres of land, especially low land, in Moheskhali and Matarbari, said Md Abul Kalam Azad, principal coordinator for SDGs affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Abul Kalam Azad, also the chief coordinator of the MIDI project, moderated the event. Ministers and secretaries concerned and high officials of relevant ministries and departments were present at the event.
“The prime minister instructed us to ensure proper compensation for people who will be affected by the projects. These projects will be implemented in three phases till 2041,” state minister for power and energy Nasrul Hamid told the daily sun after the meeting.
He said the government will establish a power and an energy hub, two separate industrial zones, a deep sea port, a logistics hub and a water resources hub under the project.
Besides, Railway, highways and other infrastructures will also be built as part of the integrated projects, he informed.
The government will build houses and community centres and other facilities for affected families, Nasrul Hamid said.The Moheskhali-Matarbari integrated projects will be implemented in three phases in 2020, 2031 and 2041.
Speaking at the meeting, the PM highlighted her government’s efforts in the development of Cox’s Bazar and Matarbari.
“Once there was nothing in Cox’s Bazar and the people of the entire region used to depend on only salt and betel leaf cultivation,” she was quoted as saying.
The prime minister said the country’s largest coal-fired power plant, a coal jetty and an LNG terminal are
being built in Matarbari. Besides, a multipurpose seaport, special economic zone, road, rail and other projects were taken up in the area.
Countries like Japan, China, India and Korea have already expressed their interest in making investments in Matarbari, said the prime minister.
Once the projects are implemented, she said, Matarbari will play a big role not only in the development of the region, also in the country’s economy.
The prime minister said the government is setting up an economic zone in Cox’s Bazar in addition to developing the beach city as an international tourist hub. The construction work on Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane highway has already been completed, while the work on setting up rail lines up to Cox’s Bazar is progressing fast, she said, adding that high-speed train will be introduced on the route.
Hasina said work is underway to develop Cox’s Bazar Airport as an international one.
The Japan government has proposed to implement 15 out of 37 proposed projects under the Matabari project with their own investment.
Japan has already pledged $20 billion investment in the project and government is hopeful of mobilising another $20 billion from other sources, Md Abul Kalam Azad said.
Under the MIDI project, the government will build a multipurpose seaport on 1,225 acres of land and four units of coal-fired power projects having the capacity to produce 2400MW power and an LNG-based power plant with facilities in Matarbari.
Besides, eight coal-fired and LNG-based power plants with the capacity to generate 8,320MW electricity will be set up on 5,579 acres of land in Moheshkhali.
The government has already allocated Tk 574 crore for acquiring 5,579 acres of land in Moheskhali, but it will require around Tk 83,200 crore more for 8320MW power generation.
Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Ltd has already completed 22.20 per cent physical progress for implementing 1200MW ultra-supercritical power plant project in Matarbari.
The Prime Minister’s Office has already asked the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) for acquiring 931 acres of land by its own fund. The rest 294 acres of land will be acquired through JICA finance for implementing the deep seaport at Matarbari, according to sources.
At the seaport, the government plans to create facilities to load and unload 112,000 metric tonnes of coal facilities to feed 12 mega coal-fired power plants.
Besides, the 1000mmcfd LNG supply facilities will be created at Matarbari through the installation of land terminal. There will be a LPG terminal as well, officials said.
In future, the government plans to extend the Moheskhali deep seaport to Sonadia Island and requested JICA to conduct the feasibility study for that, sources said.
The government is also planning to extend the Cox’s Bazar railway link to Matarbari to facilitate smooth carriage of construction materials and machinery to Moheskhali-Matarbari integrated development project.
“We are now conducting a feasibility study for the construction of Matarbari rail link from Chakaria,” Rail Secretary Mofazzel Hossain earlier told daily sun.
The proposed rail link will facilitate carriage of capital machinery between Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram, he said.
The rail secretary also said the Dohazari-Ramu-Cox’s Bazar rail route project is going on in full swing.
The government has allocated Tk 900 crore for the project in the current fiscal under the Annual Development Program (ADP).
Of the project, a total of 102 kilometres New Duel Gauge rail route will be constructed along with nine station buildings, platforms and sheds.
Besides, an Iconic station building in Cox’s Bazar will be built on the oceanic seashore.
The PMO had formed a high-profile body to coordinate the development works in the area.
The committee has been tasked with monitoring the overall infrastructural development in Moheshkhali-Matarbari area.
JICA is conducting a comprehensive transport plan between Dhaka and Moheshkhali-Matarbari area for transportation of goods to and from the proposed deep seaport there.
The PMO has already formed a separate committee led by a senior secretary to Legislative and Parliament Division for preparing a legal framework and guideline on the use of Matarbari land.