The government is in the process of making large scale investment plans to turn Mohamaya, an eye-catching hillside lake in Mirsarai, Chittagong, into a tourism hotspot, reports UNB.
Currently, the scenic location of the country’s second largest lake suffers from a lack of publicity, adequate infrastructure and maintenance.
Akbaruddin Ahmad, former president of Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), said the reason for the lack of publicity was that the Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB), who is responsible for branding and promoting tourist sites, was not doing anything about it.
According to UNB, BTB CEO Md Nasir Uddin confirmed that he had little knowledge of the site as it was outside of BTB’s maintenance jurisdiction. He added that he would gather more information about Mohamaya before taking steps to make the location more popular among tourists.
“An approach road from Dhaka-Chittagong Highway and the roads that were constructed in the lake area are in very bad shape,” said local businessman AKM Nurul Alam, adding that security was also an issue.
Echoing his comments on the rundown state of the lake area, Humauyn Kabir, a Bangladeshi expatriate living in Canada, lamented the amount of rubbish he saw at Mohamaya, as well as the number of slums, during a recent visit.
"This is an astonishing tourism spot, with a charming hillside lake and pristine natural beauty, but also an utterly neglected one," he said.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon told UNB that they were already working on plans to develop the spot and improve its branding, both at home and abroad.
"We've already talked to the local MP [Housing and Public Works Minister] about Mohamaya Lake, and we'll take the required steps to make the site even more attractive and catch the attention of tourists," he said.
Meanwhile, Mirsarai Upazila Nirbahai Officer (UNO) Zia Ahmed Suman said the government had taken some initiatives to make the spot more secure and attractive, including improvement of the approach road, setting up of an Ansar camp, construction of washrooms and toilets, and replacement of engine-run boats with battery-run ones.
The UNO added that he had already informed the authorities concerned about the increasing presence of slums and they would soon be removed.
On December 29, 2010, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Mohamaya Lake and Irrigation Project, situated two kilometers east of the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway.