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Dhaka Tribune

Hi-tech park may get going

Update : 09 Nov 2014, 06:21 PM

The government is close to sign an agreement with a contractor to develop two blocks of the proposed hi-tech park in Gazipur under the Public-Private Partnership initiative.

The deal would be signed with an India-based international developer firm SIMCL-INFINITY subject to approval by the cabinet committee on economic affairs, officials said.

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is scheduled to place the proposal at a meeting of the committee scheduled tomorrow.

Already delayed by 16 years due to bureaucratic tangles, the deal for the development of two blocks (2 and 5) would be signed for 40 years. The park will have a total of five blocks.

“At long last, we are going to select one firm for beginning the development works,” Project Director ANM Shafiqul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. “Now, a proposal will be sent to the cabinet committee for approval.”

He said: “Initially the contract will be signed for 40 years, which might be extended further if both parties agree.”

According to the proposal, the two blocks will be developed under Design, Build, Finance, Operate, Own and Transfer (DBFOOT) basis under PPP initiative.

The areas of two blocks are 62 acres and 29 acres respectively in the total coverage of 132.8 hectares of land.

Sources said local company Summit Communications Limited owns 75% of the consortium and 25% goes to the Indian partner, Infinity.

The proposal also revealed SIMCL-INFINITY will invest $114.56 million for developing the block 2 and $93.33 million for block 5 in next 10 years. The contract with SIMCL-INFINITY might be extended for another 20 years based on their performance.

The government will get 11% from the two blocks as rent for the build-up spaces, 22% from block 2 and 23% from block 5 as the earnings on the leased land, while utility and other charges will be 8% for the initial 40 years, according to the proposal.

A senior official of the project said there is a clause recently introduced in the proposed contract that the awarded company would be allowed to mortgage the land to commercial banks subject to signing agreement with the government.

There is a little option to impose penalty if the company fails to complete the project work within the stipulated time of 10 years, he added.

Sources in ICT Ministry also said development of block 3 and 4 are also going to be awarded to another local firm Fiber@home while block 1 will be awarded for Fiber@home and Summit Communications Limited jointly.

The development of the project had seen little progress in last 15 years, with officials concerned blaming the sluggish pace on frequent shifts in government decisions and interference from the World Bank, which was providing Tk200 crore for the project taken in 1999.

In 1999, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina decided to establish the park on 232 acres of land at the Kaliakoir Surface Satellite Station. However, the then BNP-led government did not carry on with the project, while its Science and ICT Ministry initiated a new project at Kaliakoir in 2004, where they did nothing other than acquiring land. 

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