Sahara Group of India Friday launched its subsidiary organisation - Sahara Matribhumi Unnayan Corporation Ltd - with a primary plan to invest about US$ 120 million for a township-housing scheme near the capital Dhaka.
Subrata Roy Sahara, managing worker and chairman of Sahara India Pariwar, made a declaration about the launching of the corporation at a press conference organised at a city hotel.
He had earlier signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) in this connection and had a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during his four-day visit here.
Mr Sahara introduced Sheikh Fazle Fahim, son of Awami League presidium member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, as director of the new company and 'mentor' of the Group in Bangladesh at the press conference, which was addressed, among others, by the Pariwar's deputy director Saurav Bhattacharya.
Citing a BoI (Board of Investment) report, he said that Bangladesh received investment of $ 600 million over the last 40 years from India. "It is very much insignificant. Our proposed initial investment ($ 120 million) will be the largest one from India," he added.
To implement the housing scheme for the low-income people, Sahara demands 0.1 million (one lakh) acre green land. The company will bear all the costs needed for completing the project. A proposal has already been placed to the Bangladesh government in this connection.
"A small area of land is inadequate to build what Sahara wants to do as it does not compromise with quality," he said.
Apart from the infrastructure and housing scheme, Sahara has plan to invest in some other projects in the country's different sectors including IT, health, education, power and tourism.
Mr Sahara mentioned two basic reasons for coming to Bangladesh - his emotional inclination to work for Bangladesh as his predecessors' root is in Bikrampur and bright business opportunity here as the country's economy is growing gradually.
In response to a query, the Sahara chairman said they want to establish the residential area constructing buildings on 50 per cent of the total land and different other facilities like school, college, playground, mall and swimming pool on the rest of the land, where the inhabitants can enjoy a standard life style.
He also mentioned about the PM's assurance for his project quoting her as having said, "We will see (the matter) thoroughly."
He expressed his view of working in Bangladesh to 'complement', not to 'compete', with other business bodies for the development of the country.
Mr Sahara also conveyed his interest in investing on building a city over rivers in the Sundarbans area in Bangladesh saying that such a project, planned for implementation over rives in Paschimbanga, was cancelled earlier due to strong protest from the Indian environmentalists.
When asked about the beginning of the township project, he replied that they want to begin it as soon as possible as Sahara is very much dynamic. But there is a matter of obtaining permission from Rajuk to do so, he said.
About the ownership of the proposed township, he said, "We have created a new company (Sahara Matribhumi Unnayan Corporation) in Bangladesh in this connection."
The materials needed for implementing the project will be collected locally except for state-of-art equipment which is not produced locally.
"Dhaka should be developed and expanded towards the east and the west; that's why we came here," he said.
Responding to another query about future of the proposed project in consideration of political turmoil in the country, he pointed to his challenge given to the Indian government at an Indian TV channel that nobody could find any fault of Sahara in complying with rules and regulations concerned.
"If we are seen suspiciously, our emotion and inspiration will evaporate," Mr Sahara added.