Building a better Chittagong
While Dhaka was being developed as the capital of Bengal in the 16th century, Chittagong, our economic hub on the southeast of the country, had already become one of the most important trading posts in the world, ostentatiously called ‘Porto Grande’ by the Portuguese who once held control over the city. In fact, Chittagong has been an important seaport and city since the ancient times, having garnered honourable mention in the works of Ptolemy, Huan Tsang, Ibn Batuta and many others. It was, along with Karachi, Kolkata and Bombay, one of the most important places which linked the Indian subcontinent with the rest of the world.
Ever since the creation of Bangladesh, economists, politicians, policymakers and entrepreneurs, from home and abroad, had always known that Chittagong held the key to the country’s success. The city boasts one of the largest and deepest natural ports in the world, remarkable natural resources in rivers, hills and lakes, while the largest part of the country’s economic activity, especially in relation to international trade, is carried out of Chittagong. And yet, as most economists and relevant people concur, Chittagong is yet to live up its potential to become one of the most important economic hubs of the region, mostly due to neglect and absence of proper planning and implementation on the part of governments and policymakers down the years.
In this day and age of a globalised world, Chittagong not only important to the future of Bangladesh, but can effectively become a crucial economic centre point for places such as northeast India, Bhutan, Nepal and parts of Southern China and Burma. Chittagong, as most people love to compare, indeed has the potential to become an important outpost like Singapore in Southeast Asia. But to do that, the policymakers of the country will have to turn their attention to the city to properly develop its resources, to direct its development efforts into areas that have potential for future growth, and to create an environment where the city, as well as the country, can prosper.
In this special supplement on Chittagong, New Age brings together a host of people related to different areas of development in Chittagong to discover the issues that are holding back the development of Chittagong, to highlight the environmental concerns surrounding Chittagong, as well as providing in-depth reports on the problems plaguing the people of Chittagong. Some of the key people related to the development of Chittagong have also been interviewed for this special supplement. New Age hopes the supplement will provide readers a better understanding of the issues related to the development and growth of Chittagong and will also help in some way to identify the paths for the future development of the grand old port city.
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