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China Proposes to Build a Smart City in Bangladesh

It seems Bangladesh will have its first taste of the technological advantages of a smart city thanks to its Asian neighbour. In its latest advisory, China has proposed building a smart city in a China-Bangladesh partnership on a 60 square kilometre area on the Bay of Bengal coast instead of a Chinese-funded metro rail construction in Chattogram City. The proposal is to build a smart city in Chittagong. Industry observers detail it could rival the smart city of Shanghai, China’s most lucrative metro.

Four Chinese state-owned companies have offered the Chittagong Development Authority to build a smart city by filling the 60-square-kilometre area from the Patenga coast to the Mirsarai Economic Zone in lieu of building a metro rail in Chittagong at their own expense. In response, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Housing and Public works, in its meeting chaired by its President, Engineer Mosharraf Hossain recommended that the proposal be sent to the prime minister, a press release disclosed.

If successful, the smart city will be built by reclaiming land from the proposed area of Bay Terminal in Chittagong to Mirsarai. That should be a beacon for businesses to thrive in the region. Businesses and investors from different countries will be flocking to the future economic activities around the proposed economic zone on the other side of the tunnel and deep seaport and energy hub at Matarbari.

Under the proposal, the Bangladesh government will not need any money.  Its proposal states that the responsibilities of the project will remain in their hands.  However, there’s a catch. The Chinese companies plan to earn from the smart city once completed and will share the money from the plot sale with the Bangladesh government.

The Chinese planners even cited Dubai and Singapore as an example. The reason is that there is no risk of loss if the sea-land is recovered there.  Moreover, they explained some more that such townships have been created by reclaiming the land of the sea in different parts of the world including Dubai and Singapore. Plus, they affirm they have the technology to get the work done. They assert that their modern technology can even make seawater in the reclaimed portion clear.

The Chinese company is also working on the tunnel and Padma bridge on the Karnafuli river at a very fast pace.  If so, it will be the Chittagong Port Authority that will implement the Bay Terminal project on the seashore along this road.  Experts say China’s proposal needs further scrutiny.  The Bangladesh Government must weigh all the pros and cons before getting into a major project to affect the country.

Still, this smart city project shows how much the Chinese have moved forward with their digital transformation. A smart city in Bangladesh, no doubt, can earn a lot of dividends for the country that once was a regional power centuries ago.

China’s massive digital adoption has provided the framework from which the country could achieve great things. Just recently, Beijing aimed to have as many as over 2 million 5G base stations all over the country by end of 2022. People all over the world stand witness to how ICT technology can bring about top-notch service. The recently-concluded Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing showed all the perks in harnessing emerging technologies, as reported on OpenGov Asia.


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