Just a few months ago the whole Haragram-Nabinagar area in Rajshahi was full of illegal slums where quarrelling, violence, screaming of children, and gathering of drug peddlers were everyday events. The scenario has changed significantly in recent times with the beginning of construction of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Silicon City bringing a new spirit of hope to young people.
New establishments are being built and sounds of metal chucking are heard throughout the day as Rajshahi people’s long-awaited dream of having a hi-tech park in the city shows some visible progress.
According to officials, the technology park will create more than 14,000 jobs for young people while another 30,000 will be able to earn their livelihoods indirectly.
On November 24, 2011, prime minister Sheikh Hasina in a public meeting in Rajshahi promised to set up a hi-tech park in the city for economic upliftment and social development of the region. Later, the government took a project worth Tk 281.99 crore to establish the technology park, including a five-storey building covering 62,000 square feet IT incubator cum training centre, on 31.63 acres of land. On January 13 this year, state minister for information and communication technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak inaugurated the construction works of the park.
Visiting Zianagar area where the five-storey building is being built, this correspondent found that the construction of the ground floor has been completed.
The site where the 12-storey main building will be constructed has been cleaned up and the workers were taking preparations for starting the works.
Shamsuddin Mia and Associate Limited, Hamid Construction Limited, and PEB Steel Allaince are jointly constructing the main building.
Munir Hossain, silicon city project manager of Shamsuddin Mia and Associate Limited, told New Age that soil tests had been done and they would start constructing the main building in a few days.
Rakkani Halder, an officer of Vitti, one of the consulting companies of the hi-tech park, said that a major challenge was to rehabilitate the slum dwellers to free the land. ‘The silicon city will be launched in 2021’, he said.
The progress in construction of the park, meanwhile, has created high hopes of employment among people of all walks of life.
Sohel Sarowar, a graduate student of computer science and engineering department of Rajshahi University, said that he was very optimistic about the park for he thinks students like him would not have to run for jobs once the silicon city is launched.
Professor Abdul Wadud of RU economics department said that the economy of the region would definitely be accelerated through the hi-tech park. ‘A large number of young entrepreneurs as well as vast employment will be created. The number of Dhaka-bound job hunters from this region will be reduced’.
Abdul Mobin, manager of a local IT firm, said that the technology park would create huge opportunities for IT professionals as well as educated young people.
The silicon city would facilitate more people to work as freelancer, web and graphic designer and consultant from Rajshahi, he added.
Rajshahi mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton said that the park would play a key role in stimulating economic development by expanding hi-tech industries, establishing hardware and IT/ITeS industries, and creating a healthy investment environment for foreign firms.
Local lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha said that foreign companies would be allowed to provide technological support for developing local industries.
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