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Bangladesh - April 2, 2023

Tk 136 cr spent for site selection

New airport at Padma side

Mahfuja Mukul: The construction of another international airport near the capital Dhaka was one of the promises of the current government. In 2010, Munshiganj wanted to build the airport as promised in Arial Bill, but it was suspended due to the obstruction of the locals. The search for a new place begins. The feasibility study was conducted by Japanese consultants from 2015 to 2021. However, despite spending Tk 1.58 crore, the Civil Aviation Authority (CABA) could not select a single location. Finally, the names of the two places have been submitted to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism. At one time, the potential construction cost of the airport was in the millions. For the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport project, the areas of Chiharchar, Khwajpur, Umedpur, Dathikhanda, Kadirpur, Bhadrasan and Madaripur were initially identified. Binodpur, Chandrapur, Chikandi and Mohammadpur in Shariatpur Sadar and Bara Gopalpur, Sener Char, Bara Krishnanagar, Jayanagar in Jazira also come up in discussion. But no single place name has been found yet. The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has chosen two place names. Two places have been selected after feasibility study with Tk136.59 crore. One of them is Shariatpur Sadar and Char Janajat. This feasibility study was done in the period from 2015 to 2021. Meanwhile, the feasibility report has been submitted to the (See Page-2) (From Page-1) Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism. CAAB will announce the name of a single place when it receives a green signal at a high level. Joint Secretary (Planning) of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism Khalilur Rahman told that CAAB has just completed the feasibility study for the construction of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport. The report recommended the names of two places covering Madaripur and Shariatpur districts. Japanese consultant Nippon Koi was hired to review the feasibility of the airport project in 2016, according to CAAB sources. CAAB signed an agreement with Nippon Koi for Tk 136.75 crore in the selection of the venue. After nearly five years of research, Nippon Koi chose Shivchar in Madaripur as a suitable location. But there are also new challenges. The complex process of relocating around 8,000 families in the area came to the fore in the construction of the airport. The government backed down again. Since then, all the work of the project has stopped. However, CAAB managed to submit the feasibility report late. It is known that two sites are recommended based on Initial Environmental Examination (IEE), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Resettlement and Compensation Framework. One of the few promises the Awami League made after forming the government in 2009 was to build another international airport near the capital. Its main objective was to establish Dhaka as a hub for air communication. In 2010, the Cabinet approved the construction project of Bangabandhu International Airport with an initial cost of around Tk 50,000 crore. In the project proposal, the airport has three runways to accommodate 400 passenger and 200 cargo flights per day. However, in the face of the agitation, the land acquisition work was suspended in the Arial bill. Later it was decided that the airport would be across the Padma, at Madaripur or Shariatpur. The government wants to start construction of the airport before the next elections. That’s how the work is progressing. Now the construction of the airport will start only if the Prime Minister decides. The plan to build this airport near the border of Shariatpur and Madaripur districts by crossing the Padma bridge from Dhaka is almost final. One lakh crore taka will be spent. An expressway will be built from Dhaka to the airport to relieve passengers from traffic jams. The construction cost of the airport has more than doubled in a span of 10 years. The airport may have to construct a second Padma bridge within eight years of its operation to handle the passenger pressure, officials said. The Ministry will prepare a complete DPP (Development Project Proposal) of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport project. It will be the second largest mega project in the country in terms of expenditure. The ‘Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant’ project is the most expensive project in the country. Its total cost is Tk 1 lakh 13 thousand 92 crore. The airport will be surrounded by connecting roads and modern towns and cities. The final location will be selected considering distance from Dhaka, connectivity with Dhaka, land availability, international routes, road, rail and river connectivity, possibility of future expansion, rehabilitation, travel cost etc. Earlier, in 2010, the government had decided to construct the Bangabandhu International Airport at Arial Bill in Munshiganj. The airport was supposed to be implemented on 25 thousand acres of land. Out of this, it is planned to build Bangabandhu International Airport on 10,000 acres of land and Bangabandhu City on the remaining 15,000 acres of land. But in the face of strong objections and continuous protests from the local residents, the government withdrew from the decision.

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