- BEPZA wants to ready more plots at Mirsarai Economic Zone
- BEPZA revised project proposes readying 539 plots instead of initially targeted 250 plots
- More plots will ensure $2.7 billion in investments and generate around 4 lakh jobs
- The original project estimated creating 1.5 lakh jobs at $1.25 billion potential investments
- Project cost to go up to Tk1350.38 crore, which was Tk750.58 crore in the original plan
- The Export Processing Zones Authority claims demand for industrial plot is on the rise
The number of industrial plots at Mirsarai Economic Zone (first phase) of the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) will be increased due to demands from both local and foreign investors.
The ongoing BEPZA Economic Zone, Mirsarai Project (first phase) was geared to build 250 plots initially.But the Export Processing Zones Authority has proposed that 539 industrial plots be readied since the authority believes such a measure will ensure $2.7 billion in investments and will generate 4 lakh jobs.
A revised project proposal from BEPZA has already been sent to the Planning Commission in this regard. According to the revised proposal, the project cost will go up to Tk1350.38 crore from the original Tk750.58 crore.
BEPZA officials said no new export processing zone has been set up under BEPZA for nearly the last 14 years. In the meantime,the authority has received numerous investment proposals from home and abroad.
They said economic zones under BEPZA currently have a demand of about 16 lakh square meters of industrial plots for investment by 51 local and foreign companies, and the demand is on the rise.
According to the revised development project proposal (DPP), the size of 539 industrial plots will be 18.18 lakh square meters. Currently, land development work is being carried out on 935 acres of land at the BEPZA economic zone in Bangabandhu Industrial City in Mirsarai. Besides, infrastructure development is ongoing on 360 acres of land in order for the industrial plots to be made ready.
According to officials concerned, there are no vacant industrial plots or floors at the eight BEPZA export processing zones set up in different parts of the country. All the plots and floor spaces have already been rented out.
The Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) has allotted 1,150 acres of land in Bangabandhu Industrial City in 2017 due to growing demands from investors. At the International Investment Summit on January 24, 2018, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled the foundation stone of the BEPZA economic zone in Chattogram.
In September of that year, the BEPZA economic zone project was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC).
As of last June, the progress of physical work at the economic zone was only 33 percent. The original project was scheduled to be completed in June 2021, while the project deadline in the revised proposal has been extended by two years.
Reasons for sluggish project progress
Several reasons were mentioned in the revised DPP project to explain the delay. The DPP noted that cleaning the huge jungle area and removing weeds on about 900 acres of the project area slowed the pace of work.
Infrastructure development and road construction also witnessed protests from local residents, which too slowed down work on land filling. Besides, BEPZA had to face issues over land acquisition, which delayed the construction of connecting roads.
The revised proposal also referred to the coronavirus pandemic-led shutdown, which hindered the normal progress of the project.