The district administration is going to acquire 503 acres of land for Jashore Export Processing Zone (EPZ) at Prembagh union of Abhaynagar upazila in the district with a view to using the marshlands for creating employment through industrialisation.
The authorities in a letter, issued on 19 October and signed by Project Director Ashraful Kabir, asked the deputy commissioner of Jashore to take the required measures to acquire the land in the water bodies of the Chengutia.
"We have received the letter and the process of land acquisition in the beel and surrounding areas will start soon," Jashore Deputy Commissioner Tomijul Islam Khan told the media.
The EPZ project aims to industrialise the district, creating employment and improving the quality of life for local people.
It will create employment opportunities for at least one and a half lakh people and around five lakh people's lives will change for the better. New doors for trade and commerce are expected to open for local people.
Prembag Union Parishad Chairman Mofiz Uddin said waterlogging in Bhabdaha is known as "the sorrow of Jashore" as most people who own land there cannot use it. The EPZ will help revive the economy of this region.
Locals affected by the waterlogging and activists for proper drainage in the Bhabdah area, said at least five lakh people in 120 villages in the beel area have been victims of waterlogging for around 20 years.
Drainage has been blocked by siltation at the sluice gates and the water of about 27 beels in the south, including Dhaler beel, does not recede. The yards of many houses also remain underwater and as a result people in these areas have a very poor and suboptimal quality of life.
Local activists said authorities should consult people in the project area before implementing any big project, but this has not been done in this case.
Activist Iqbal Kabir said there is no denying the fact that the EPZ will help develop the economy of the district but there are many issues, such as land acquisition, compensation, and other important matters associated with the project. Authorities should hear public opinion on these issues.
According to the deputy commissioner, local government representatives and people have been informed about the project.
Project Director Ashraful Kabir said the EPZ would be similar to that in Chattogram and Dhaka and they are working on preparing the DPP for the project.