Arial Bil more feasible than Madaripur, say ministers

A number of ministers told a meeting of the cabinet committee on the government purchase on Wednesday that Arial Bil in Munshiganj was more viable than a site in Madaripur for the construction of the proposed international airport.

Officials attending the meeting said that a discussion over selection of a suitable site out of the two took place when the committee approved a civil aviation and tourism ministry proposal to increase the cost of feasibility study on site selection to Tk 129.31 crore from Tk 120.20 crore.

Agriculture minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque asserted that the Arial Beel in Munshiganj should be selected for the construction site for its close proximity to the capital city.

‘Travelling from Madaripur to the capital will be chaotic. Besides, about 8,000 people will need to be relocated to elsewhere from the site, if chosen, in Madaripur,’ he was quoted by the officials to have said.

Law minister Anisul Haq, state minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid and state minister for shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury also took part in the discussion.

At the discussion it was decided that the prime minister’s consent would be sought for the selection of a final site, said cabinet division additional secretary Md Zillur Rahman Chowdhury at an online briefing.

Nippon Koei Bangladesh Ltd has been conducting the feasibility study which is expected to be complete in the next month. In 2016, the civil aviation authority of Bangladesh appointed Nippon Koei to the task.

In 2011, the Arial Beel in Munshiganj was selected for the airport, but the government backtracked on the decision in the face of violent protests, which left a policeman killed and many locals and law enforcers wounded.

The civil aviation and tourism ministry officials said that a new airport would be necessary to brand Bangladesh as an international gateway on a par with the country’s promotion to the middle-income country status in 2026.

The estimated cost of building the new international airport is Tk 50,000 crore, according to a pre-feasibility study by the ministry of civil aviation and tourism.

It was reported that the proposed airport would have about 6,000 acres of land.

The total cost of the project includes that of the construction of an elevated expressway between Dhaka and the airport and of a monorail.

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