EPZ to be set up in Patuakhali
Work is underway to set up an export processing zone (EPZ) in Patuakhali centering the Payra sea port.
For this, the district administration has initiated the process of acquiring 413.03 acres of land in Pachakoralia Mouza of Auliapur union under Sadar upazila. An Investors' Club is also being set up on 2.25 acres of land in Kuakata for investors.
According to the Patuakhali deputy commissioner's office, the Prime Minister's Office gave administrative approval to acquire the land in favour of the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza) for setting up 'Patuakhali EPZ' on August 8, 2021.
In a letter signed by Abdullah Al Mamun, director of the Prime Minister's Office, it was said that land acquisition of 410.78 acres in Pachakoralia mouza of Sadar upazila for the EPZ and 2.25 acres land in Kuakata for the investors club has already begun.
"If the land acquisition is completed by next June, we would be able to start the infrastructural activities from July. Our target is to complete the construction of this EPZ, which wil employ one lakh people, by 2025," said Md Ashraful Kabir, project director of the Patuakhali EPZ.
"It is difficult to say now how much the project will cost and how much investment can be made here but we think the EPZ will make a positive change in the socio-economic perspective of the lives of local people and the country as well," he added.
Other than the Patuakhali EPZ, a couple of EPZs will also be set up in Rangpur and Jashore, where land acquisitions are also ongoing, a BEPZA official said.
Currently, there are eight EPZ's in Bangladesh -- Chittagong EPZ, Dhaka EPZ, Mongla EPZ, Ishwardi EPZ, Cumilla EPZ, Uttara EPZ, Adamjee EPZ and Karnaphuli EPZ.
Obaidur Rahman, Patuakhali additional deputy commissioner (revenue), said notices would soon be issued to the owners of plots in the land required.
If anyone has any objections to the notices in regard to the land accuisition, they will be dealth with within 15 days before being sent to the land ministry for final approval.
The value of the land would be paid to the owners within the next two months after completion of all the procedures, Rahman added.
The EPZ is being set up along the Patuakhali-Kuakata highway, just 10 kilometres south of Patuakhali district town, only 40 kilometres away from Payra Sea Port, and 62 kilometres away from Kuakata sea beach.
Md. Humayun Kabir, chairman of the local Union Parishad, said they are very happy that an EPZ is being set up in Patuakhali.
Most of the land to be acquired falls in agricultural zones while there are only 15 houses there.
Locals are also happy about the initiative as it will lead to massive development in the area.
Forkan Hawlader, a farmer from Pachakoralia village, said three acres of his own agricultural land, including the plot his house sits on, is being acquired for the EPZ area.
"We are happy to have EPZ here but we demand the district administration to take measures so that we can get the real value of the land," he added.
Another farmer, Abdus Sattar, said 2.50 acres of his land, including his house and agricultural land, are being acquired.
"So, I am seeking the goodwill of the administration so that there is no obstacle for us to get the value of this land," Sattar added.