Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today opened the National Data Centre that appears as world's seventh largest such ICT facility saying it was a step forward towards building the Digital Bangladesh.
"We elevated our status one step ahead towards Digital Bangladesh," she said opening the four-tier National Data Centre at Bangabandhu High Tech City in Gazipur on the outskirts of the capital through video conference from her official Ganabhaban residence here.
The premier said data preservation was of crucial importance for a country's advancement while the centre was built as part of her ruling Awami League's election manifesto to build Digital Bangladesh.
She said Bangladesh so far was dependent on foreign ICT facilities abroad requiring the country to spend a huge amount of money from the national exchequer while the centre would save the amount and simultaneously generate income for the government.
The construction of the National Data Centre began in 2016 on 7 acres of land with a space of two lakh square feet with Chinese financial and technical assistance.
The centre by now obtained a certificate from the USA's Uptime Institute, an organisation best known for its 'Tier standard' and the associated certification of data centre compliance with standards.
The opening of the centre came at a ceremony which simultaneously saw installation of solar panels in parts of rugged Chattogram Hill Tracts, commissioning of five new ships of Bangladesh Shipping Corporation and a research vessel with a particular goal to promote fisheries.
The ship was built at the initiative of Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Sciences University to operate in Kaptai lake in Rangamati.
The premier said her government took initiatives for building Digital Bangladesh after assuming office in 2009.
"In true sense of the term, we could build the Digital Bangladesh by now," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said as part of the initiative, as many as 28 high-tech parks were now being built at different parts of the country while the steps now made available computers and laptops even at village homes.
"Many people are now earning money staying indoors using the digital device," she said.
Sheikh Hasina also referred to setting up of digital centres across the country and launching of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 adding "these initiatives are now generating employment".
The premier said her only son and Information and Communication Technology Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy in building Digital Bangladesh.
The premier came down heavily on the then BNP-Jamaat government saying they virtually prevented the digitization campaign.
She referred to an instance when BNP-led government had scrapped a deal signed during the Awami League's 1996-2001 tenure with a Netherlands entity just because the company's brand name incidentally was "Tulip" which was the name of her niece.
Under the deal Bangladesh was supposed to procure the computers at half of their original price but instead the country needed to pay the company an amount of Taka 32 crore as penalty for scrapping the deal after losing a legal battle.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni, CHT Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing and State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak were present on the dais while former home minister Advocate Sahara Khatun and Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, among others, witnessed the event.
PM's Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman moderated the function while Principal Coordinator on the SDG Affairs at the PMO Md Abul Kalam Azad, PMO Secretary Sajjadul Hassan and PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim, were present as well.