Govt revives Bangabandhu Int’l Airport Project

August 21, 2014

The government has revived a project to build a new international airport which was stalled as the site, then selected, a vast wetland in Munshiganj, drew violent protests in January 2011,
The government had taken the plan to build Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport at Arial Beel in Munshiganj without any feasibility study.In July, the civil aviation ministry sent a fresh proposal to the Public Private Partnership Office under the Prime Minister’s Office, to conduct a thorough feasibility study for building the new international airport.
The PPP Office facilitates development of core infrastructure and services under the public sector.
The civil aviation ministry shortlisted four possible sites one in Dhaka, two in Munshiganj and one in Madaripur on the bank of the Padma River for the proposed mega airport.
‘The government has revived the project for building the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport,’ civil aviation ministry joint secretary AHM Ziaul Haque told New Age Wednesday.
He said a proposal had been sent to the PPP Office with a request to select the site, conduct detailed feasibility study, estimate the cost and prepare the design for the new airport.
The PPP Office would float international tenders for appointing project consultants for site selection, feasibility studies, he said.
The PPP office has also been requested to give its recommendation whether or not the airport would be built under public-private joint venture or with funding from donors, he said.
The construction cost could now escalate to Tk80,000 crore from Tk 50,000 crore in 2011, he said.
The feasibility studies would cover environmental and financial sustainability of the site to be selected.
The shortlisted sites include Char Janajat in Shibchar upazila, Madaripur, Char Bilaspur in Dohar upazila, Dhaka, Keyain and Latafdi in Sirajdikhan, Munshiganj.
In February, 2011 the government abandoned the idea of building the airport at Arial Beel, a vast wetland, in Munshiganj following protests by local people.
Keyain and Latafdi are also located near Arial Beel.
The government took the plan to build the international airport and a city around it to fulfill ruling Awami League’s 2008 election manifesto.
It appointed a cell headed by a civil aviation ministry joint secretary to implement its priority project.
It was reported that Arial Beel site was selected without any geological or feasibility studies. Thousands of villagers rallied under the banner of Save Arial Beel Committee to oppose the government’s plan saying it would destroy their livelihoods.
In 2012, the cell headed by Joynal Abedin Taluker short-listed the new four sites out of seven alternatives.
The country has three international airports and five domestic airports, all underused, said officials.

-Input from New Age

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