The government is going to set up a fully-fledged cantonment named after Sheikh Hasina at Payra in Patuakhali to enhance national security and face the aftermath of natural disasters.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) yesterday approved the Tk 1,699-crore project to be fully financed by the government. The cantonment would be founded by 2021, decided the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the NEC Auditorium of the planning ministry.
After the meeting Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told reporters there was no cantonment in the greater coastal belt of Barisal and Patuakhali. As a result, soldiers from far-off Jessore Cantonment have to respond from 200km away to natural calamities in the south, he added.
The minister said defence, disaster management and assistance to local administration in 21 districts in the area have been provided from Jessore Cantonment since independence.
The Bangladesh Army was formed in 1972 comprising three brigades and has now been expanded into nine divisions and 30 cantonments.
The new cantonment is being built in an area, where the government, of late, has laid out a series of development projects including building a deep-sea port and constructing large power and LNG units.
Replying to a question, the minister said the premier gave the idea of building the cantonment and that is why it is being named after her.
According to a planning ministry proposal, the cantonment will be built on 1,532 acres of land, of which 567 acres has so far been acquired.
The land in the project area has been formed by chars emerged there since 1975 and is devoid of human habitation. As a result, no people need to be rehabilitated or will be affected if the cantonment is built there.
Under the project, eight office buildings each up to four storeys and 12 residential buildings each up to 14 storeys will be built.
The ECNEC also okayed another project for construction of Bheramara (Bangladesh)- Bahrampur (India) Second 400 KV Double Circuit Transmission Line (Bangladesh Part) involving Tk 189 crore.
Currently, a 500 megawatt high voltage direct current back-to-back station has been set up at Bheramara and a 400 KV Transmission Line exists from Bheramara to Bahrampur.
Bangladesh imports 500 MW electricity from India which would increase to 1,000 MW. As part of the plan, a second transmission line is being set up.
The ECNEC also approved another project named Dredging at the Outer Bar of Mongla Port Channel that would take Tk 713 crore. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2019.
The planning ministry proposal says at the entrance of the Mongla Port Channel there is a shallow river route called Outer Bar.
During high tide the channel has maximum 8.5-metre draught. The proposal says as a possibility of handling and transporting goods from India, Nepal and Bhutan through the Mongla Port has been created, the depth of the Outer Bar should increase.
When the Padma Bridge is open and the Padma rail link from Dhaka to Jessore is set up, the port's importance will increase manifolds.
A 1,320 MW coal-based power plant is also going to be installed there. The navigability of the port will be upgraded so that the channel's draught increases to 10.5 metres.
The ECNEC yesterday approved as many as 10 new and revised projects including these three that would involve Tk 3,334 crore.