Bangladesh develops green economic zones, but will locals benefit?
NARAYANGANJ, Bangladesh – As the evening prayer call sounded across Narayanganj district in central Bangladesh, Mohammad Masum planted vegetables on his small strip of land next to a new Japanese-backed industrial hub, elevated above the surrounding area to avoid flooding.
When it was set up, the 500-acre “Bangladesh Special Economic Zone” — owned by the governments of Japan and Bangladesh and Japanese trading giant Sumitomo Corp. — acquired four-fifths of the land Masum and his siblings had inherited from their father.
Masum said he was paid about 2 million taka ($19,264), which he has mostly spent. “Now I rely on driving an electronic taxi and planting vegetables in my spare time, unlike my belated father who lived on farming entirely,” he added.
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