Dhaka,  Saturday
25 May 2024

Tk 300cr river port dev sets sail for economic boom

S M Rafi, Chilmari

Published: 11:24, 15 May 2024

Tk 300cr river port dev sets sail for economic boom

Formerly a bustling center of maritime commerce, the Chilmari river port in Kurigram gradually declined due to multiple challenges. However, anticipated development efforts now spark optimism for revitalizing its economic prospects. Photo: Messenger

After years of anticipation, the long-awaited development work of the Chilmari river port in Kurigram has finally begun. The project, undertaken by contractor companies DG Bangla and Standard Engineering, involves infrastructure development at an estimated cost of about Tk 300 crore.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Deputy Engineer Abu Dawood Sarkar confirmed the commencement of the project, which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Shipping. The port's cargo and passenger facilities are planned to be built on an area of approximately 10 acres, with initial infrastructure development work starting on two and a half acres of land.

Plans laid out by BIWTA detail an ambitious vision for the Chilmari river port, encompassing cargo and passenger facilities sprawling across approximately 10 acres of land. At present, the groundwork has commenced on a parcel spanning two and a half acres, heralding the dawn of a new era for the region's transportation network.

A visit to the port area revealed that the contractor company's workers are engaged in non-stop activities from dawn to dusk.  Voices from within the community echo sentiments of hope and anticipation. Aminul Islam, Zainal Haque, and Abdus Sattar, residents of the port area, express confidence in the transformative impact the completed port will have on their lives and livelihoods. Their aspirations are not limited to personal gain; they foresee the port as a linchpin for the broader economic development of the region, serving as a gateway to domestic and international trade.

Chairman of Chilmari Upazila Parishad, Md. Rukunuzaman Shahin, articulates a similar sentiment, emphasizing the port's potential to catalyze economic growth not only within Kurigram but also on a national scale. His words resonate with the government's broader vision of fostering inclusive development and prosperity across all corners of Bangladesh.

The historical context of the Chilmari river port imbues the current endeavor with added significance. Once a thriving hub of maritime trade, the port fell into disuse over time due to various challenges, including river shallowing and neglect of waterway infrastructure. However, the government's unwavering commitment to revitalizing the port underscores its strategic importance in facilitating trade and commerce, both domestically and internationally.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Chilmari in 2016 marked a turning point, with the announcement of Chilmari as a naval port. Subsequent initiatives by the Ministry of Shipping, including the inauguration of the river port by the then-Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and the foundation stone-laying ceremony by State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, have paved the way for the port's revival and development.

Deputy Engineer Abu Dawood Sarkar provides insight into the strategic significance of the Chilmari River Port project, affirming its status as a top priority for the government. Since the laying of the foundation stone, development activities have been underway, signaling a concerted effort to fast-track the port's completion and unlock its potential as a driver of economic growth.

The development of the Chilmari river port represents more than just an infrastructure project; it symbolizes a beacon of hope for the people of Kurigram and Bangladesh as a whole. As construction progresses and the port takes shape, it is poised to become a vital artery for trade and commerce, fostering prosperity and progress for generations to come.