The long-delayed hi-tech park at Kaliakoir has finally taken one small step towards realisation, as the government looks to tie down an Indo-Bangla joint venture firm to develop parts of the estate.
Summit Technopolis, the joint venture, will be awarded the work to construct two of the five blocks of the 232-acre park on a design, build, finance, operate, own and transfer basis.
The hi-tech park authority will sign an agreement with the company on Sunday for 40 years, which can be extended later by another 20 years, said Safiqul Islam, project director of Kaliakoir Hi-Tech Park.
The company is a 75/25 joint venture between Summit Industrial & Mercantile Corporation Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of local Summit Group, and Infinity, an Indian firm.
The company will develop block No. 2 and 5, spanning over 65 acres and 29 acres of land respectively, over a ten-year time period.
The joint venture has proposed to invest $114.56 million for block-2 and $93.03 million for block-5.
In block-2, it needs to erect a multi-tenant building, a convention centre and a hotel, customs infrastructure and a warehouse.
For block-5, it will have to develop the industrial area, water treatment plant and a substation for electricity.
The government will get 11 percent of the earnings of the two blocks as rent for the built-up spaces for the initial 40 years, according to the proposal.
It will also get 22 percent from block-2 and 23 percent from block-5 as earnings on the leased land and another 8 percent for utility and other charges.
The hi-tech park authority has set aside block-1, which spans 65 acres, for itself.
Fiber@Home, a local company, has been selected to develop block-3, which is spread across 40 acres. A deal will be signed with the firm shortly.
Tender evaluation is still ongoing for block-4 that spans across 36 acres, according to Islam.
The government expects the hi-tech park to create 66,000 jobs in the next ten years.
Initiated in 1999 by the then government, the project fell by the wayside when the BNP-led government took over. The project got momentum in 2009, when the present Awami League government came to power.
The World Bank, together with UK's DFID and the International Finance Corporation, is backing the venture, as it will attract domestic and foreign investment, create jobs and accelerate growth.
The objective of the hi-tech park project, which will be considered a specialised economic zone, is to establish a world-class business environment and develop the country's IT and IT-enabled services sector.
The government has taken some other initiatives such as the Jessore Software Technology Park, Mohakhali IT Village in Dhaka, Sylhet Electronic City, Barendra Silicon City in Rajshahi and Natore Freelancer Institute, to supplement that vision.