Dhaka, Bangladesh
Construction of largest river transport repair factory in limbo

Construction of largest river transport repair factory in limbo

KHULNA, July 2: The construction of the country's largest river transport repair factory has become uncertain for various reasons, including its inability to use the allocated budget and obstruction by illegal occupants. According to sources, the fund allocated in the last year's national budget for the factory along with a river transport training institute on the bank of the Rupsha River could not be utilised due to obstruction by land encroachers, reports UNB. The Deputy Commissioner's office had received a proposal from the Department of Government Transport back in 2016, stating their interest in establishing the factory on a 3-acre land on the bank of the Rupsha River, near the Custom Ghat No. 1 area in their name. It was later approved and funds were initially allocated for building the factory. The DC's office had then handed over the khas land with a token money of Tk 1,00,001 to the Transport Department on April 17, 2017. The actual value of the land is currently Tk 57.32 crore. But thanks to illegal encroachment by influential locals, the factory project still has not seen the light of day. Locals alleged that the khas land was long leased out to 25-30 brick and sand traders, many of whom are local influential ruling party leaders. Despite their leases being voided in 2015, their opposition to the whole process has denied the Transport Department from accessing their newly-acquired land. The traders submitted memorandums, staged protests, human chains and such, which at times also included the support of local government representatives. Sheikh Ashrafuzzaman, secretary general of Greater Khulna Development Coordination Committee, said the factory has been a demand of locals for a long time, as it will generate employment for them, which can help them find jobs both locally and internationally. Chief Transport Commissioner of the Department of Government Transport Munshi Shahabuddin Ahmed said funds were allocated for the project which they could not use. But he added that it was available in the current budget, which can be utilised to construct the factory's boundary wall with support form locals. Deputy Commissioner of the district Md Amin Ul Ahsan said they had handed over the plot to the Department of Government Transport, and it is up to them to oversee the rest of the project.

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