No airport against people's will | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 03, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 03, 2011

No airport against people's will

PM says the proposed airport site to be shifted following a feasibility study

Locals of Arial Beel celebrate, flash victory sign as the government yesterday announced refraining from building Bangabandhu International Airport there.Photo: STAR

Against the backdrop of fierce protest from local residents against construction of an international standard airport in Arial Beel of Munshiganj, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said no airport will be built there against the will of the area's people.
"Awami League government is people's government and it won't do anything going against their will," she said while justifying the need for a new airport of international standard for the country's development.
Chairing a weekly cabinet meeting in Bangladesh Secretariat, the premier said the site of the proposed airport will be shifted to another place after a feasibility study.
The site will be shifted to the south of the Padma River if necessary, she was quoted as saying by a few of the ministers and state ministers who were present at the meeting. Sources said the new site of the proposed airport might be Jazira of Shariatpur.
Citing the examples of Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia -- Hasina, also the president of ruling Awami League, told the meeting that a new airport of international standard is a must to build a developed and prosperous Bangladesh by 2021.
The government is also planning to develop the sea beaches of Cox's Bazar, Chittagong, and Kuakata, and in that regard a modern airport is a must to draw attention of international tourists, she added.
Questioning the foresight of the local people of Sreenagar and of the opposition leader Khaleda Zia, she expressed her frustration, saying they "failed to realise" the importance of a modern airport.
Hinting at Khaleda Zia and her party BNP, the premier said, "Those who lack foresight do not want a new airport built in the country," adding that those who "instigated" the mob on Monday did not do the right thing.
Expressing disappointment about the role of the local police administration in containing the violence in Sreenagar of Munshiganj on Monday, Hasina directed the home ministry to look into whether there was any negligence in duty by police. She ordered departmental actions for any negligence in duty by police during the fierce clash that killed a policeman and injured about 100 others.
One of the state ministers said Munshiganj superintendent of police might be suspended for failing to maintain law and order.
Cabinet sources said the premier expressed disappointment about her party lawmakers from Munshiganj constituencies, as they could not make the people understand the importance of the proposed airport there, which could have changed their lives.
Meanwhile, our Munshiganj correspondent added that police arrested 14 more people in Sreenagar upazila on suspicion of their involvement in Monday's violence.
Shakhawat Hossain, officer-in-charge of Sreenagar Police Station, told The Daily Star that the 14 were arrested during raids at different parts of the upazila on Tuesday night and yesterday morning.
The arrestees were involved in attacking police, and vandalism, the OC claimed. A court sent 7 of the 14 to two days of remand each. The court also ordered police to quiz two of the others at jail gate.
On Tuesday, police raided Baroikhali, Laskarpur, and Shologhar areas and arrested six persons.
A tense situation has been prevailing in Baroikhali, Laskarpur, Madonkhali and Alampur areas since Monday's violence. Male members of almost all the families, who fled their homes to avoid arrest, are yet to return.

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