The government yesterday scaled up the cost for the planned software technology park in Jessore fivefold as part of its efforts to implement the Vision 2021.
In March 2013, the Executive Committee of National Economic Council approved the Jessore Software Technology Park project fixing the expenditure at Tk 47.95 crore.
The government's highest authority in approving development projects yesterday increased the cost to Tk 240.73 crore.
Bangladesh Hi-tech Park Authority, the state-run body to prop up hi-tech industries, is implementing the park with full-financing from the government.
The project, scheduled to be completed in June 2016, will also set up the infrastructure necessary for attracting local and foreign investors to set up IT, software and other IT-related industries.
The project cost has gone up as the government changed almost all components of the park.
For example, the government has expanded the project area and the capacity of power sub-station, and extra floors to two multi-storey buildings will also be constructed with the new allocation.
Now, 9.185 acres of land will be acquired. A 12-storey steel-structured dormitory, 10 floors of another 15-storey steel-structured building, a power substation and other infrastructure will be set up. A canteen and amphitheatre will also be erected.
Speaking to reporters after the Ecnec meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said ICT is the sector which has the most potential and the country is close to being a revolutionary in the area.
“We are recognising the sector as a thrust one so it can help the economy move forward,” he said, adding that thousands of people, mostly young, have already started to make their living through outsourcing by working from home. The minister said the government plans to set up a software technology park in every district of the country.
“The first one will be set up in Jessore. We will set up IT parks in other districts on the Jessore model,” he said, adding the park would offer opportunities for education and training in order to develop professionals.
The Ecnec also gave a go-ahead to a proposal from the industries ministry to raise a project cost from Tk 31.2 crore to Tk 47.32 crore.
Under the project, Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Centre (BITAC) will train up to 17,280 young men and women in areas such as light machineries, electronics, electrical maintenance, wielding, household appliance maintenance, carpentry and plastic processing.
“Not a single person who took the training from BITAC is unemployed now,” said the minister, adding that the project would come to end this year and steps would be taken to continue it.
The Ecnec approved Tk 187.29 crore for the Climate Victims Rehabilitation Project, which extend housing facilities to climate victims and ensure pure drinking water and sanitation and lease out ponds for long-term and provide training on income-generating activities to the rehabilitated families.
The project will benefit 10,650 climate victim families, said Kamal.
“We will take steps so no allegation is raised in the project,” said the minister.
The Ecnec also approved a Tk 880 crore project for improving the livelihood of the people living in haor areas, which remain under water for about six months of a year.
Japan International Cooperation Agency will provide Tk 596 crore, while the rest will come from the government.