Daily Dhaka Times: The government is going to launch the first Software Technology Park in the country today. Sajeeb Wazed Joy, ICT advisor to the prime minister, is expected to inaugurate the event at ICT Division, while Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT, will be present at the function.
In 2000, the government acquired Janata Tower after the High Court convicted former president HM Ershad in a corruption case in connection with the purchase of the land. Recently, the government resolved the issue, considering the court order by establishing the Software Technology Park (STP) at the Janata Tower.
The government declared Janata Tower to be a Software Technology Park for expansion of the country’s high-tech industry, according to Bangladesh High-tech Park Authority Law 2010. Later in 2012, the tower was handed over to the software and information-based trade body – Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS).
The 11-storey structure, situated at Karwan Bazar, had been abandoned for a decade because of legal disputes and controversies centring the building. In the meantime, the software park has already turned itself operational via a public notice on 9th October. But rental rate is one that is not particularly attracting young technology entrepreneurs. Concern about lobbying is another reason many people stayed away from applying.
Against this backdrop, only proper software companies will get space allocation at the Janata Tower, claims BASIS chairman Shamim Ahsan. He called on the authority hoping that no software-firms-in-name-only will be able get allocation through lobbying and that rental rates should be kept at moderate levels so as it is within the reach of young entrepreneurs.
On the other hand, Managing Director of the High-Tech Park Authority Hosne Ara Begum said, “Everyone from startups to software related IT, ITES and BPO companies had the opportunity to request for space allotment in the high-tech park. By the time we have finished evaluation of the request applications, we will be able to begin space allotment by 15th October. After some interior construction work, the software technology park will be unveiled by the end of this month.”
In 2010, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared Janata Tower as a Software Technology Park in her bid to build a Digital Bangladesh. But due to failing in execution and not being able to finish development of the technology park by its pre-planned date of 2013, High-Tech Park Authority canceled its contract with Techno Park. In the aftermath, Techno Park filed a lawsuit against the cancellation and the court issued a stay on development activities of the park. After several round of hearing, the court eventually rejected Techno Park’s complaint on 9th September this year.
High-Tech Park Authority has also declared three other private institutions – Xchanger, Augmadix and Digicon – as software park on a private level. These firms are receiving all necessary perks and facilities from the government as approved software parks.
Following Janata Tower, several other software technology parks such as Jessore Software Technology Park and Gazipur Kaliakoir High-Tech Park are on their way to be unveiled. Development of these two parks are at full-speed under the ICT division’s initiative. Development activities of several other technology havens such as Mahakhali IT village, Barendra Silicon City Rajshahi, Electronic City Sylhet, Chandradwip Cloud Chor and CUET IT Business Encubator are also ongoing.