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Dream of airport in Bagerhat set to come to
The long-cherished dream of the people of the southern region, including Bagerhat, is going to be fulfilled with construction of Khan Jahan Ali Airport in the district very soon.
With the announcement of this, the local people here have started visualising aircraft taking off and landing in the district in the near future.
Hopes have also started getting embedded in their minds that once the airport in the district’s Rampal is set up,
the greater Khulna region will have wide expansion of trade, commerce, industries as well as tourism.
The government eyes substantial contribution of the infrastructure to the uplift of the region’s economy as well.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon will pay a visit to the project site today (Tuesday).
The airport has been named after Muslim Sufi Saint Khan Jahan Ali.
The government started land acquisition for the airport nearly 20 years ago in 1996 at Foyla, Rampal adjacent to the Mongla-Bagerhat highway.
Except earth filling, there has been no further development work there in the last 20 years.
The proposed site for the airport has by now turned into a grazing ground.
Finally, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on May 5 approved the construction work of Khan Jahan Ali Airport Project with an outlay of around Tk 545 crore.
The Civil Aviation authorities will implement the Airport Construction Project by June, 2018.
The government would provide Tk490 crore out of the total project cost of Tk 545 crore.
The rest Tk 54 crore would come from the own fund of the Civil Aviation authorities.
If the project is implemented, it will greatly contribute to the development of
local trade and commerce centering the Mongla Port, EPZ, shrimp industry and Rampal Power Plant.
Since the distance of proposed Khan Jahan Ali Airport would be 20 kilometres both from Khulna city and Mongla port, there could be expansion of tourism in the region centering the world's largest mangrove forest the Sundarbans, Shat Gambuj Mosque (sixty-dome mosque) and the shrine of Khan Jahan Ali.
Overall, the local people hope that investment from home and abroad will increase in region after completion of the airport.
Sources confirmed that Bagerhat district administration acquired 94.90 acres of land in 1994-95 and 2.65 acres in 1999-2000 for proposed Khan Jahan Ali Airport.
Afterwards, the administration handed over the land to the Civil Aviation authorities.
Around Tk8.5 crore was given to the owners of the lands acquired for the airport.
After being elected in 1996, the then Awami League government started earth filling on the acquired land for the proposed airport in 1998.
During the regime of BNP-Jamaat’s Four-Party Alliance government,
the plan for the airport got changed and then the construction of the airport became stalled.
After that, during the second regime of the Awami League government in 2013, the government directed Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET) to conduct feasibility study of Khan Jahan Ali Airport.
The study report submitted by KUET at the end of the same year recommended building the airport in two phases.
Abdur Rouf and Ripon Akunji, residents of Foyla in Rampal, said they have been waiting for long to see the airport functioning and they have got frustrated as the construction of the airport has not started yet.
However, they have started dreaming again as the current government allotted budget for the project recently.
They also expect that the airport will open up job opportunities for the local unemployed people.
Besides, industries and mills-factories will be established centering the airport which will develop the financial condition of local people.
Abdur Rahman and Liton of the same area, expressing their grievances, said the government has acquired their couple of bighas of land for the airport in two phases.
They had to leave their ancestral property for the sake of the airport.
However, if the authorities acquire their land again, they will lose everything.
But they would not have any regret if the airport is constructed with shortest possible time.
Deputy Commissioner of Bagerhat district Jahangir Alam told UNB that the plan to construct an airport was passed at an Ecnec meeting recently though the approved revised PP has not reached the DC office yet.
Whatever the Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister instructs, following his visit to the project site, the district administration will implement the directives, he said.
Upholding the importance of Khan Jahan Ali Airport, Bagerhat DC also said there is Mongla Port, Rampal Power Station (proposed), shrimp industry and Sundarbans in Bagerhat.
New industries and factories will be established and trade and commerce will be expanded if the airport is constructed here.
Bagerhat Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Shahjahan Khan said the trade and commerce in Bagerhat will be further developed if the airport is built.
Entrepreneurs from home and abroad will come up for investment establishing mills and factories.