Ayub Ali from Ctg: The Chattogram Development Authority has said it will not allow commercial structure at Central Railway Building or CRB, which is marked as a heritage zone in the port city’s master plan.
CDA Chief Engineer Kazi Hasan Bin Shams made the authority’s position on the issue clear amid public anger over a government plan to set up health facilities in the area under public-private partnership.
The government signed a deal with private firm United Enterprise Company Ltd in March last year to construct a 500-bed hospital, a medical college with 100 seats and a 50-seat nursing institute.
When the authorities began evicting residents from Railway Hospital Colony quarters recently, the general public along with activists protested.
Under the project, the structures are supposed to be constructed next to the Railway Hospital and quarters on a six-acre piece of land in the CRB area with an estimated cost of Tk 400 over 12 years.
No one has applied for CDA’s mandatory permission to build the structures in the port city.
“It’s a protected area as a heritage zone in our master plan. We’ve decided in principle that we won’t allow any commercial structure here,” said Shams.
“CRB is one of the most beautiful places in Bangladesh,” he said, noting that open places like Circuit House ground and Outer Stadium are shrinking in Chattogram while DC Hill is off limits to the public.
“We don’t any other open space.”
“No matter what they say, many trees will be cut in future if a hospital is set up here. Building a hospital is not an easy job,” the chief engineer said.
He advised the people involved with the project to come to the CDA so that it can show them a place other than CRB.
Shams said CDA was also thinking about a plan to ban construction of hospitals inside the city.
“We have enough space at Pahartoli. The road is also good there, with Ring Road and other alternative routes.”
“But we won’t allow a hospital at CRB. We will write to the government if necessary.”
Although Bangladesh Railway said no old tree will be felled for the project, protesters said the construction will threaten the environment of the entire area.
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