CPA may save Tk 3,600cr on land acquisition
The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) may not have to spend Tk 3,600 crore to acquire 803 acres of khas land for the Bay Terminal project as the government is considering its application to be given the area for free or at a token price.
Once implemented, the terminal would enhance the port's container storage capacity three times to 1.5 lakh twenty-foot equivalent units while larger vessels with a draft of up to 12 metres and length of 280 metres would be able to berth.
The existing jetties can currently accommodate ships with as much as 9.5 metre draft and 190 metres length.
There was administrative approval for the acquisition of a total of 870 acres of land for the project. Of which, around 67 acres of land was privately owned.
In September 2018, the CPA handed over Tk 352.62 crore as compensation to the district administration for those privately-owned lands while a decision over the remaining 803 acres remained pending.
The Chattogram district administration had earlier demanded Tk 3,600 crore from the CPA for acquiring the 803 acres of khas land, which is government owned.
However, the CPA lacks such funds as it already deposited its surplus fund worth around Tk 3,500 crore to the national exchequer, according to a senior official preferring anonymity.
The CPA recently applied for the settlement of the khas land at a token price or free of cost and the district administration sent a proposal in this regard to the land ministry last week.
Rear Admiral Mohammad Shahjahan, chairman of the CPA, yesterday said the Prime Minister is considering their proposal in a positive light.
He hopes the decision will be finalised soon after the prime minister and land minister return from abroad, and they get the land at a nominal price if not for free.
Shahjahan was addressing a view exchange with various stakeholders and port users regarding the draft masterplan of the Bay Terminal project submitted by a Korean consultancy.
In April, the port authority had appointed a Korean joint venture between Kunhwa Engineering and Consulting Co Ltd and Daeyoung Engineering Co Ltd at Tk 126.50 crore as an international consultant for the Bay Terminal's construction. The firm recently submitted its draft masterplan.
The terminal would be constructed on around 2,500 acres of land on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in the North Halishahar area, which is around six kilometres west of Chattogram port.
The project includes three terminals having a total length of 3.5 kilometres.
Of the three, a 1.5-kilometre long multi-purpose terminal will be constructed and operated at the port's own expense.
The remaining two terminals, which will have a length of one kilometre each, will be constructed and operated with the funding of skilled and experienced international terminal operators under a public-private partnership arrangement.
Currently, UAE based DP World and PSA Singapore are negotiating with the government for getting the job of developing the two terminals.
While discussing the draft masterplan, the CPA chairman said a 4.5-kilometre long terminal access road having two to eight lanes would be built to enable smooth vehicle entry without conflicting with Chattogram city's Outer Ring Road.
Representatives of the Chattogram City Corporation, Chattogram Development Authority, Chattogram Wasa, Water Development Board, Roads and Highways Department, CMP Traffic and leaders of different business associations gave their opinions at the meeting.
Shahajhan said all logical proposals would be incorporated to finalise the masterplan.
Park Jong-Jin, team leader of the consultant firm, told The Daily Star they would finalise the masterplan within a month and prepare a detailed drawing on the design.
The CPA chairman hoped that after completing the detailed design and preparing a development project proposal, they would start work on appointing an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor for constructing the multi-purpose terminal by February next year.