The Executive committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Thursday approved a project for developing necessary infrastructures and facilities to operate Paira Deep Sea Port involving Tk 1128.43 crore.The approval came from the Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room with its Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. Paira Port Authority will implement the project by June 2018.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said a total of eight development projects were approved today with an overall outlay of Tk 6,387.58 crore.
“Of the total project cost, Tk 4,197.58 crore will come from the national exchequer, Tk 25 crore from the organisation’s own fund, while Tk 2165 crore from project assistance.” Of the approved eight projects, seven are new while one is revised project.
Sources at the Planning Ministry said unloading of goods through the Paira Sea Port would start on a limited scale by this December and the loading and unloading of goods from commercial ships will be carried out at the outer anchorage until the Paira Port system comes into full operation.
To operate the port activities, minimum infrastructural facilities will be set up, including warehouse, cranes, pontoons, pilot boats, tugboats, buoys, laying vessels, survey boats and administrative building.
Under the project, a 5.60-km four-lane road from Rajpara to Paira Port will be constructed to establish links with the national highway.
Besides, land acquisition, construction of warehouse, Ramnabad and Kaliganj water route dredging, and procurement of high-speed boats, pilot boats, tugboats, survey vessels and service pontoons are in the project as major activities.
The Paira Deep Seaport, a high priority project of the government, is situated on the west bank of Ramnabad channel in Kalapara upazila in Patuakhali district, and its channel’s outer part has a 16-21 meter depth that will allow high-draft vessel to move easily.
At present, 95 percent cargos are handled by Chittagong Seaport alone, but expansion and development of the port is appeared impossible due to establishment of residential and industrial infrastructures.
Besides, the Pashur River is losing its navigability for incessant siltation that is creating obstruction to vessel movement.
Mustafa Kamal said the operations of the Paira Port will start by 2023 in full-swing where there would be space for some 7,500 containers. At present, the country’s major sea port Chttagong Port can accommodate some 1500 containers. With the operation of of the Paira Port, the cargo handling cost will come down by three times.
By 2028, the minister said, some four crore tones of coal would be unloaded from this port.
Asked whether there will be a deep sea port in Chittagong, he said the deep seaport would be set up at Matarbari, but unlikely at the Sonadia. Besides, another deep sea port would be set up at Paira.
Initially, Kamal said, a warehouse sizing one lakh square feet would be constructed at the port to load and unload food grains, fertilizer, cement and other items through this port. Besides, some 94 lakh cubic meters of dredging would be done to maintain navigability at the channel.
Earlier, on November 19, 2013, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the Paira Sea Port as the country’s 3rd sea port at Ramnabad Channel under Kalapara Upazila in Patuakhali district.
Sources said the meeting did not approve the ‘Bangladesh’s River Management Improvement Programme (Phase-1)’ involving an estimated cost of Tk 5,200 crore as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the authorities concerned to recast it after emphasising more river dredging component.
The other projects approved at the meeting are Establishment and Modernisation of regional office of BSTI in Chittagong and Khulna with Tk 182.33 crore, rural infrastructure development in greater Pabna and Bogra districts involving Tk 468.09 crore.
Strengthening sustainable nutrition security through production of pulse and oil seed with Tk 168.47 crore, construction of residential buildings for the officials and employees of Planning Commission and Planning Division with Tk 105.88 crore, construction of some 608 residential flats for government officials and employees at Paikpara in city’s Mirpur area with Tk 458.62 crore, establishment of Ship Model Testing Center at Bangladesh Engineering University with Tk 48.84 crore and Secondary Education Sector Investment Program (1st revised) with Tk 3,826.92 crore also got the Cabinet nod.
Ministers and state Ministers attended the meeting. Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present.