The much- awaited seaport in the country’s southern region, Paira Bandar, today started its journey ushering in a new hope for the country’s export-import business and overall economy.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the country’s third seaport and first of its kind after independence at Ramnabad Channel under Kalapara upazila here this morning.
“Today a new seaport after independence launched its journey. So it’s a day of great pleasure for the country, particularly the people of the southern region,” she said after inaugurating the seaport.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of a modern full-fledged naval base “BNS Sher-e-Bangla” with aviation facilities.
The port, once come to full operation, mother vessels with eight to ten metre drafts will be able to anchor helping loading and unloading of goods more quickly than Chittagong port, which now handles country’s 92 percent export and import.
Later, the Prime Minister in a cruise on BNS Surma from
Tiakhali jetty visited “BNS Sher-e-Bangla” at Ramnabad Channel,
316 km from the Chittagong Port and 340 km from the capital.
Sheikh Hasina hoped that the Paira Seaport would create a
new horizon in the country’s import- export business and goods
Centering on the port, she said, new industries, LNG
terminal, coal yard, shipbuilding industries and other
installations would grow up in this region.
“It will boost up communications, employment and local trade
and businesses improving the living standard of the people,” she
Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan presided over the meeting
while State Minister for Water Resources Mahbubur Rahman, Whip
and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Shipping
Ministry Noor-e-Alam Liton Chowdhury, Chief of Naval Staff Vice
Admiral M Farid Habib, Chairman of Paira Port Authority Rear
Admiral Nizam Uddin Ahmed and Shipping Secretary Syed Manzurul
Islam spoke, among others, on the occasion.
The Prime Minister said her government has already passed the
“Paira Port Authority Act 2013” and constituted an authority to
this end. She called upon all to come forward to turn this port
into a full- fledged and modern seaport.
Sheikh Hasina said, a shipping and maritime culture is
growing up in the country as per the IMO convention. “The
government is pledged-bound to build a strong maritime sector in
coordination with different port authorities, Bangladesh Navy,
Bangladesh Coast Guard and public-private shipping sectors as
well,” she said.
After the inauguration, the Prime Minister visited wheat
unloading activities of the port.
The Prime Minister said her present government after taking
office in 2009, has adopted a coordinated working plan for
modernization of the naval force and acquisition of submarine,
aircraft and new vessels.
“It’s crucial to construct a full-fledged base for
modernization of naval force. Today, this plan has been
materialized through laying the foundation stone of the BNS Sher-
e-Bangla,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina hoped that the new naval base would play a
significant role in providing security to Paira Port as well as
protecting marine resources and checking environment pollution.
Besides, she said, the naval base would be able to conduct
regular operation against the pirates in the Sundarbans and its
adjoining areas. As a result, extracting huge marine resources in
the whole southern region would be easy and safe.
The Prime Minister said naval and submarine operation could
be launched from this naval base as it is situated in the middle
of the coastal region.
“The government has given an approval for acquisition of 200
acres of land for the naval base,” she said adding, “work for
acquisition of another 300 acres of land is going on for naval
aviation and submarine operations.”
The Prime Minister said under the Forces Goal-2030, a
development plan for the navy has been chalked out. “The plan
includes expansion of naval commands, up-gradation of ranks,
setting up of naval bases, replacing of old ships and induction
of new ones,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said agreements have already been signed with
China to procure two submarines and two corvettes by 2015.
“We would build a capable and modern three-dimensional navy
for the future generation Insha Allah,” she said.
On her arrival at Kalapara, the Prime Minister was received
by Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral M Farid Habib and Chairman
of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Rear Admiral Mohammad Nizam
Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) has already completed a
techno-economic feasibility study (TEFS) including environmental
impact assessment (EIA) for development of Paira Seaport.
According to the study over Taka 15,000 crore would be spent for
construction of the complete infrastructure of the port in 10