FENI, Mar 12: In order to transform Sonagazi into a commercial hub, massive works are moving ahead with the initiatives by the concerned departments.
In the first phase, 500 hundred acres of land are being developed to make the place appropriate for industrialisation. Moreover, 7,000 acres of land covering another six moujas have been selected to this effect. The ongoing land development work is expected to be completed within next June, according to relevant sources.
The main focus for implementing the economic zone is to bring wide-ranging transformation in Sonagazi Sadar upazila. The zone comprising land area of 7,000 acres adjacent to the Bay of Bengal has been taken within the purview of broad based development works in the selected areas. If the development works proceed as per the schedule, the economic zone will generate employment opportunity for 5.50 lakh people in different establishments, local people said.
The detailed information of the selected land areas in respective moujas are: 1,543 acres at No. 69 Thak Khoazer Lamsi mouja; 188.88 acres at No. 70 Char Khoazer Lamsi mouja; 1961.92 acres at No. 94 Khandakar mouja; 1579 acres at No. 94/103 Dakkhin Char Khandakar mouja; 628.99 acres at No. 93 Bahir Char mouja, and 1318 acres at No. 232 Char Ramnarayan mouja.
Out of the total selected land, the formalities of 1750.56 acres have been finalised. In accordance with that, land development is going on in 500-acre areas which were finalised earlier. This part of the land is basically an emerged island of the sea. This entire area will be utilised for ship building yard, airport, power plant, automobile, and heavy industries.
Executive Chairman of the economic zone Paban Chowdhury and Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahmed have visited the area recently to evaluate the progress of the project on the spot.
The entire abandoned landscape, which remained unutilised for long, now emerged as a place marked by multifarious activities. Within a few years the establishment of industries will open a new horizon of economic activities. The entire scenario will be changed with the development of different establishments and projects. The people surrounding the zone, visualising the prospective aspect of the development activities, have started bright dreaming about their future.
Abdul Karim, a local inhabitant said, "We are happy to know that the area is going to be an economic zone."
Another person Haroon-ur-Rashid hopes that 10,000 youths will be employed in the zone, and the ongoing unemployment problem will be resolved.
Chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zone (Secretary) Paban Chowdhury told The Daily Observer that with the completion of the activity package, the economic zone will generate employment opportunity for 5.50 lakh people. The development of land works will be completed within next June. If all moves well, the industries will go into production within 2017, he visualised.
Raising the prevailing fear among common people that the development work will cause destruction of trees, Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahmed assured that for maintaining the equilibrium of environment, the economic zone and the surrounding green will live together to complement each other.
Deputy Commissioner Md. Amin Ul Ahsan while speaking with The Daily Observer said though Feni district is smaller in size, it is very important in terms of geographical position and commercial vibrancy.
All these will facilitate to transform Sonagazi and Feni into a region like Singapore, he hoped.