Vol. 5 Num 299 Wed. March 30, 2005  
Star Chittagong

Plan to develop 100 more industrial plots
BEPZA to receive remaining 148.42 acres of land from Chittagong Steel Mills authorities April 2

The Chittagong Steel Mills (CSM) authorities will hand over the remaining 148.42 acres of land to the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) on April 2 for developing 100 more industrial plots under a separate authority of Karnaphuli EPZ, sources said.

The CSM authorities handed over 74 acres, out of the total 222.42 acres of land, to BEPZA in late 2003.

CSM General Manager Anwarul Islam will hand over the land to BEPZA Executive Chairman Brig General (Retd) Md Zakir Hossain and Karnaphuli EPZ Project Director Ataul Haq at Patenga.

The handing over ceremony was scheduled for tomorrow but was postponed due to hartal called by the opposition political parties.

The authorities will float a tender for the work order to develop plots on the land (148.42 acres) next month, sources said.

Meanwhile, the Karnaphuli EPZ authorities started developing 100 industrial plots on over 74 acres of land, sources said.

"The process of allotting these plots is yet to be started as the internal roads need to be developed and utility services have to be ensured first for the industrial units to be set up on the land," said Karnaphuli EPZ Project Director Ataul Haq.

"We hope these plots will be ready for allotment by July," he said while talking to this correspondent on Monday.

He said that the authorities had been getting huge response from intended investors. Setting up of industrial units on all these 200 plots of both the phases will start within one year, added.

The plots, however, will be developed on the land excluding 12 acres allocated to Rapid Action Battalion, Chittagong (Rab-7), he added.

Chittagong Steel Mills (CSM) Limited, the lone heavy steel industrial unit of the country, was set up on 222.42 acres of land on the bank of the river Karnaphuli in the late 1960s. The plant, installed at a cost of Tk 50 crore, went for commercial production in August, 1967.

But, in the last 32 years till 1998-99, Chittagong Steel Mills incurred a loss of Tk 733.17 crore.

The liabilities of CSM stood at around Tk 700 crore when the cost of the assets amounted to Tk 900 crore before it was closed down on July 7, 1999.

The government decided to hand over CSM land to BEPZA for setting up another EPZ on April 17, 2003.

The decision was made since the land of adjoining Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) became saturated.

A total of 428 industrial plots developed on 453 acres of CEPZ land were allocated and there was no plot for allotment for new investment in this first EPZ of the country.

BEPZA at a board meeting on September 5 last year decided to bring the remaining land of CSM under its control for developing another 100 plots in the second phase, sources said.

The Executive Committee for National Economic Council (Ecnec) at a meeting on January 9 decided to hand over CSM land to BEPZA, sources added.

Chittagong Steel Mills: BEPZA Executive Chairman Brig General (Retd) Md Zakir Hossain and Karnaphuli EPZ Project Director Ataul Haq will receive the CMS land at Patenga on April 2. PHOTO: Zobaer Hossain Sikder