District unit leaders of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port, yesterday, criticised the government’s decision to give India the opportunity to setup an inland container port on the west bank of Shitalakhya River.
Convener of the committee, Rafiur Rabbi, read out a demand script on the issue at the Hanif Khan Auditorium of Narayanganj Press Club, in the presence of Nagorik Committee district president, AB Siddik, among others.
The organisation criticised the government and alleged that it has failed to clarify the possible benefits to the people from the project deal with India.
The committee urged the government to explain the container port’s benefit publicly and warned that tougher programmes will be taken to resist the decision, if the state’s interest is not taken into consideration.
The press briefing said the container port rather than benefiting the people, will cause heavy traffic congestion in the town and elsewhere in the district, adding to the woes of the people.
The Indian Government, on May 10, published a tender to setup a container port on an 18.6hectares of land near the west bank of the Shitalakhya River, which is now owned by Kumudini Welfare Trust. The committee also blamed the government’s submissive foreign policy, as a result of which India and Kumudini were now planning the construction of the container port.
Ministry seeks Delhi’s clarification
The foreign ministry has asked the Indian authorities to clarify its position over a recent tender for a feasibility study to set up an inland container port at Narayanganj, a move which Bangladesh was completely unaware of.
“We have seen the tender but prior to that we were completely in the dark about the project,” said an official of the foreign ministry.
“We sent a letter to New Delhi on Monday seeking clarification about the container port in Narayanganj,” he said.
The Indian ministry of external affairs floated a tender on May 10 inviting bids for a techno-commercial feasibility study for an inland container port at Narayanganj.
According to the tender document, the Kumudini Welfare Trust of Bengal, Bangladesh, owns approximately 18.6155 hectares of land on the banks of the Sitalakhya River.
“They have shown interest in establishing an inland container port on this land, jointly with an Indian partner that has experience in building and operating inland ports,” the document said.
“The Ministry of External Affairs (Mea) wants to undertake a techno-commercial feasibility study for this proposed project.”
“The project entails a traffic study, financial appraisals and the preparation of a detailed report.”
With June 6 as the last date for bid submissions, the proposed study has to be completed within 14 weeks and will be completed in phases.
In the first phase, the consultant firm that will do the feasibility study will accumulate and analyse data for six weeks and submit an interim report.
In the next phase, a technical plan for the proposed inland container port will be done for the next three weeks and again an interim report will be submitted.
In the third and the last phase, a commercial feasibility will be done in line with the technical plan and data accumulation, and another interim report will be produced after the next three weeks.