The future of a $157.80 million (Tk 1,340 crore) project for developing a technical institute has become uncertain as potential foreign lenders have shown no interest in it.
The Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) took the initiative one and a half years ago to set up the Sheikh Hasina Institute of Information Technology (SIIT) in Madaripur district.
Accordingly, the planning commission approved the preliminary development project proposal (DPP) to hunt for funds the same year.
As per the proposal, the SIIT was scheduled to be completed between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2020. But no progress has been made as the funds are not available.
During the period, the BHTPA maintained correspondence with the Economic Relations Division (ERD) and frequently reminded it to search for foreign funds for the project.
Initially, the BHTPA had expected to implement the project from a third Indian line of credit but could not manage to do so because of the non-availability of the financing for the project, sources told The Daily Star.
In October last year, Hosne Ara Begum, managing director of the BHTPA, wrote to the ERD to seek funds from development partners. Accordingly, the ERD conveyed the interest of the BHTPA to development partners.
The ERD has received no feedback yet, a senior official said.
The BHTPA undertook the project to create the environment for technology transfer and expand the use of the technologies. It expects the institute to establish relations with the Indian Institutes of Technology alongside Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology to become a world-class educational organisation.
Formed in 2010, the BHTPA is currently implementing 28 IT projects across the country.
Hosne Ara yesterday said they were yet to get any fund from prospective lenders.
“Firstly, we were looking for Chinese funds. But we found no positive response. Now we have decided to move for Japanese funding.”
The BHTPA would materialise the project with own funding if it fails to get any lender, she said.
This is the first of its kind technical institute in the country, she said.
In the institute, students can study on information communication and other technological issues from secondary level to master's level, said Hosne Ara.