Moheshkhali, an island upazila in coastal Cox's Bazar, is changing with the government implementing 68 development projects worth around Tk 56,000 crore there.
The policy makers of the government think that the appearance of the country will change after the completion of all the projects under implementation and planning in Maheshkhali.
The main means of livelihood of the people of the region is fishing, betel cultivation, and salt production. The government is setting up a large hub of electricity on the salt land of the farmers, and started development activities in 2012, which is now visible.
According to the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, two power plants, five LNG and LPG terminals, an oil storage and refinery, and a 220-kilometer pipeline to unload fuel oil from the sea are being set up around the Moheshkhali-Matarbari area.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said, after completing the development project work in Moheshkhali-Matarbari area, there will be huge changes in the economy of the whole country. The Prime Minister directed that besides implementing a power hub in the region, Moheshkhali-Matarbari would be developed as a model city.
There will be two land based LNG terminals at Dhalghat of Moheshkhali. Besides, the government will build another floating LNG terminal. The total capacity of the three terminals will be 350 crore cubic feet per day.
According to the power division, the construction work of a 1,200-megawatt coal-fired power plant is going on full swing. Around 58 percent work of the project has been completed. It is expected that the power plant will go into generation by 2024.
The government has taken up the task of building a large energy belt around Moheshkhali. The island will be the heart of the country's imported fuel. There will be multiple LNG terminals along with a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) terminal. Besides, all the imported oil from here will be supplied to Chattogram and Dhaka through the pipeline.
The government has already built two floating LNG terminals in the sea. From there, an average of 80 to 90 crore cubic feet of LNG is supplied to the national gas pipeline every day. In addition to the two LNG terminals, the government wants to build three more LNG terminals with a total capacity of 350 crore cubic feet per day. Most of the gas demand in the country will be met by LNG here.
State-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has decided to build an LPG terminal at Dhalghat in Matarbari. The concerned people think that it will be possible to supply LPG at an affordable price once the construction of the LPG terminal is completed.
Currently, it takes 11 days to unload oil from a ship of one lakh tons. At this time the ship has to pay extra fare. Now Bangladesh is going to get rid of this traditional system of oil discharge through Single Point Mooring (SPM). A special kind of buoy is being set up in the deep sea as the infrastructure of SPM, which will have a pipeline inside. Through this pipeline, oil will come to the land oil depot through the seafloor. It will take only 48 to 72 hours to unload 1 lakh tonnes of oil from a ship through SPM.
A total of 220 km of pipeline will have to be laid to unload oil through SPM. Of this, the work of laying a 135 km pipeline under the sea has been completed. The energy division thinks that it will save at least Tk 800 crore a year.
The government has been thinking of building a deep seaport in the country for a long time but it has not materialized due to various complications. Bangladesh's imperfection with deep seaport is coming to an end. The first deep seaport in the country is going to be set up in Matarbari in Moheshkhali upazila of Cox's Bazar. It has signed an agreement to build a deep seaport at Moheshkhali with JICA funding. As the port has a depth of 18 meters, large ships will be able to come and unload the goods directly at the jetty. The implementation of the project is expected to be completed in 2023.
The government has planned to build railways and roads to bring goods to and from the deep seaport. Two terminals of 300 and 460 meters length will be constructed in the deep seaport, which will make it easier to move goods directly from large ships. It will take time to complete the work of the first phase in 2026. In the second phase, three container terminals will be constructed. Thus the terminal will be gradually increased.
There will be three economic zones (EZs) in Moheshkhali. Besides, food warehouses will be set up here under the management of non-governmental organisations. The government also has plans for an Eco park for the entire region, which will be built on Sonadia Island. It will be built on 9,466 acres.