Chittagong: Professor Yunus Hometown
Chittagong: Professor Yunus HometownChittagong (Bengali: à¦šà¦Ÿà§à¦Ÿà¦—à§à¦°à¦¾à¦®, ChÃ´Å£Å£ogram) is the major seaport and second largest city of Bangladesh. It is located in the Chittagong District of Chittagong Division, in the southeastern portion of the country near Myanmar (Burma). The city was built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, which ends nearby, in the Bay of Bengal. Chittagong has a population of over 6 million, and is continuing to grow. It is known as one of the cleanest cities of Bangladesh.
The largest sea port in the country, Chittagong is the main route for almost all of Bangladesh's import and export, and generates a huge amount of revenue each year, attracting manyinvestors internationally. Its harbour also contains extensively developed port facilities, and is particularly suitable for ocean steamers.
The city is Bangladesh's commercial and manufacturing centre, and home to the country's largest companies. The city has many factories. Notably, a large eco-park catering to ecologists and forestry-related genetic science has been opened recently in neighbouringSitakunda.
- Â People and culture
- Â Topography
- Â History
- Â Economy and development
- Â Administration
- Â Main sights
- Â Mosques and shrines
- Â Transportation
People and culture
The people of the city are diverse and multi-ethnic, and the native Bengali and Tibeto-Burman populations have had significant influence from Arab, Afghan, and Mughal traders and settlers, all of whom had travelled in the city after arriving on its shores many hundreds of years ago. The descendents ofPortuguese settlers, known as the Firingi, also continue to live in Chittagong, as Catholic Christians, in the old Portuguese enclave of Paterghatta.
Chittagong is also home to several of the most renowned universities of Bangladesh, Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET), the International Islamic University Chittagong, the Chittagong University, established in 1966, the Chittagong College being notable examples. It also contains many madrasas (Islamic educational centres) within its borders.
Chittagong is very different in terms of topography from the rest of Bangladesh, as the city is part of the hilly regions that branch off from the Himalayas. This eastern offshoot of the Himalayas, turning south and southeast, passes through Assam and Tripura, and enters Chittagong across the river. The range loses height as it approaches Chittagong City and breaks up into small hillocks scattered all over the town. This range appears again on the southern bank of the [Karnaphuli] River and extends from one end of Chittagong District to the other. Mt. Sitakunda is the highest peak in the district, with an altitude of 1152 feet above sea level. Nangarkhana to the north of Chittagong City is 289 feet high. In the town itself, there is a peak known as Batali Hill, which used to be 280 feet high and was the highest point in the town. There was a light post at the top of Batali Hill for the guidance of vessels far away in the sea.
Sunset in Chittagong
The district of Chittagong possesses no natural lakes. As a result, several artificial lakes and ponds or dighis, as they are popularly known, are found all over the district. A large number of dighis, both big and small, were dug during the Muslim period. A popular explanation, perhaps rumour, given for the presence of such a large number of ponds is that during the Muslim period it was felt necessary to provide ponds for the use of the womenfolk of the town. Therefore almost every well-to-do house had a pond or a dighi. Among the big ponds of Chittagong, the most interesting and beautiful might be Laldighi, Kamal Daha's Dighi, Askar Khan's Dighi and Belowa Dighi. Many of these dighis have been filled up. Laldighi is still an important place. A boundary wall has protected the entire dighi. Most of the large public meetings in Chittagong are held in the field next to Laldighi. This field is known as the Laldighi Maidan. The Assam-Bengal Railway dug two artificial lakes (in 1920 and 1924) near the Pahartali Railway Station. These lakes served as reservoirs to supply water to the Railway.
Foy's Lake, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Foy's Lake was dug in 1924 and was named after the Railway engineer Foy. It is beautiful, serene, blue, surrounded by lush, green hills, symbolizing Chittagong's eternal image, and has thus been the subject of an amusement park, headed by Concord, the makers of the world-class Fantasy Kingdom amusement park in Dhaka, and Bangladesh's largest construction company,
Nature has favoured Chittagong city, like the entire district, with many natural springs. The sources of most of these springs are to be found in the hill ranges. The water from these springs is used for irrigation purposes as well as to supply drinking water. In the city proper there are a number of springs, which are bounded by concrete walls by the Municipal authorities and supply drinking water.
The city of Chittagong attracted the attention of the outside world from ancient and very early times. The Arabs knew its port in the 9th century AD, and settled and integrated into the culture. De Barros, the first of the Portuguese chroniclers of Asia, described Chittagong in 1552 as "the most famous and wealthy city of the kingdom of Bengal, by reason of its port at which meets the traffic of all that eastern region." The city was described by the famous Chinese traveler-poet, Huen Tsang (7th century AD) as "a sleeping beauty emerging from mists and water".
The ancient history of Chittagong is not very clear. Burmese chronicles speak of a long line of kings over the region of Arakan, which included Chittagong, during the 6th and 7th century AD. Historian Lama Taranath mentions a Buddhist KingGopichandra who had his capital at Chittagong in the 10th century. Whatever might have been its early history, Chittagong's history becomes clear with the advent of the Muslims to the region.
Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq divided Bengal into three administrative units - Lakhnauti, Satgaon and Sonargaon. In 1338 Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah captured power at Sonargaon and soon after occupied Chittagong. He constructed a highway from Chandpur to Chittagong and adorned Chittagong with mosques and tombs. In 1538 the Arakanese regained possession of Chittagong after the fall of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah at the hands of Sher Shah. The Mughals conquered Chittagong in 1666, gaining control of the region. During the period from 1538 to 1666 the Portuguese made inroads into Chittagong and virtually ruled the city. During these 128 years, Chittagong became the home ofPortuguese and Magh pirates.
The re-occupation of Chittagong by the Mughals restored peace and order to the city. However, during the period of Portuguese occupation, Chittagong, and especially its port, acquired great fame as a major centre of business and trade. During the 18th and 19th centuries under British rule however, Chittagong lost its importance in the region, handing it over to Calcutta, which instead was developed as the virtual capital of the East India Company.
In 1905, Chittagong once again came into prominence after the partition of Bengal and the creation of the new province between Eastern Bengal and Assam. Due to the construction of the Assam Bengal Railway, which connected the port of Chittagong with its natural hinterland, Chittagong as a whole received a great boost and much of the development of the city in the first quarter of the twentieth century can be attributed to this connection.
The history of Chittagong shows repeated attempts by the local people to free themselves from the colonial rule of the British. In 1857, at the time of the Sepoy Revolt, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th companies of the 34th Bengal Infantry Regiment were stationed at Chittagong. On the night of 18 November 1857, the three above-named companies rose in rebellion and after releasing all the prisoners from jail, theSepoys left Chittagong carrying with them three government elephants, and much ammunition and treasure. They marched along the borders of Hill Tippera into Sylhet and Cachar. Unfortunately they were either all killed or captured by the Kuki scouts and the Sylhet Light Infantry, later known as the 10th Gurkha Rifles.
Chittagong also contributed significantly to the liberation of India and Pakistan from British Rule. Among the Swadeshi revolutionary groups, one of the most active and famous was the Chittagong group led bySurya Sen(Masterda).
Surya Sen, a teacher by profession, was the chief architect of anti-British movement in Chittagong . A resident of Noapara under Chittagong, he was initiated into revolutionary terrorist ideas in 1916 by one of his teachers while he was a student of BA Class in the Behrampore College. On his return to Chittagong in 1918, he became the President of the Chittagong branch of the Indian national congress, revived the terrorist organisation and became a teacher of the local National School. Hence, he was known as Mastarda (teacher brother).
By 1923 Surya Sen established a number of pro-freedom militant organisations (Jugantar) in different parts of Chittagong district. Aware of the limited equipment and other resources of the terrorists, he was convinced of the need for secret guerilla warfare against the colonial government. One of his early successful undertakings was a broad day robbery at the treasury office of the Assam-Bengal Railway at Chittagong. His subsequent major success in the anti-British revolutionary violence was the Chittagong Armoury Raid in 1930.
As a fugitive, Surya Sen was hiding at the house of Sabitri Devi, a widow, near Patiya. A police and military force under Captain Cameron surrounded the house on 13 June 1932.Cameron was shot dead while ascending the staircase and Surya Sen along with Pritilata Waddedar and Kalpana Dutta escaped to safety.
Ultimately a villager revealed the hiding place of Surya Sen at Gahira village in Chittagong and in the early hours of 17 February 1933, a Gurkha contingent surrounded the hideout and a soldier seized Surya Sen while he was trying to break the cordon.
Tarakeswar Dastidar, the new President of the Chittagong Branch Jugantar Party, made a preparation to rescue Surya Sen from the Chittagong Jail. But the plot was unearthed and consequently frustrated. Tarakeswar and Kalpana along with others were arrested. Special tribunals tried Surya Sen, Tarakeswar Dastidar, and Kalpana Datta in 1933.
Sentenced to death in August 1933, Surya Sen was hanged in the Chittagong Jail on 8 January 1934. At the time of his execution the detainees kept up a continuous chorus of revolutionary songs. The villager, who had revealed the hiding place of Surya Sen to the Police, was murdered in broad-day light on 8 January 1934.
During the Second World War, the British used Chittagong as an important military base. Consequently it became the target of Japanese attacks. The aerodrome at Patenga in the city was bombarded for two successive days in April 1942 and again on the 20th and 24th December 1942. As a result Chittagong was declared a non-family area and the head-quarters of the Divisional Commissioner was shifted to Comilla, and that of the Assam Bengal Railway to Dhaka. All valuable government documents were shifted toMymensingh.
The World War transformed Chittagong from a sleepy little town to a place of great activity. The massive military presence of the allied forces, drawn mostly from Britain, Australia and America could be seen on the streets of Chittagong. Frequent air raids by the Japanese warplanes, blackouts at night, and the presence of refugees from areas occupied by the Japanese, all combined to transform city life. The War, though it helped some people to amass huge fortunes as military contractors, brought much misery in its wake for the people in general, as a result of the Great Famine of 1943. The famine, it is largely believed, was man-made, and was engineered by the British Government to force people to the army recruiting centres to give the Government much needed manpower.
Chittagong once again emerged in the spotlight in 1971 when East Bengal Regiment revolted against Pakistan Army after arms shipment for non-bengali segment of the Pakistan army reached Chittagong port. This mutiny led to the declaration of the liberation war of 1971 from Chittagong Radio station at Kalurghat by Major Ziaur Rahman on 27th of March of that year. The incident eventually led to the birth of Bangladesh under the leadership of the Father of the Nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. After the liberation of Bangladesh and the surrender of Pakistani troops, Chittagong needed a massive rehabilitation and reconstruction programme. This was carried out on a high priority basis, as the major outlet to the sea could not be allowed to remain out of commission for long. Within a couple of years after independence, Chittagong became generally very much operational, both as a city and as a port.
Economy and development
In 1947, the area of the town of Chittagong was only four and half square miles and was centred around the low and small hillocks which were found scattered all over the city. Dampara, Nasirabad, Katalganj, Kapashgola and Solokbahar bound the town on the north, the Karnafuli on the south, Chaktai nullah on the east and Madarbari, Pathantuli and Dewanhat on the west. Originally the town was confined within this limit. With rapid industrialisation and development the town soon grew into a city outstripping the old Municipality area. The city extended southwest up to Patenga where the Chittagong International Airport is now located. Its expansion to the west incorporated the villages of Halishahar, Askarabad and Agrabad. The government acquired the land of these villages to construct offices and commercial firms. To the north it extended up to Faujdarhat and the Chittagong Cantonment area and in the northeast up to Kalurghat.
The Government of Pakistan under Ordinance No 51 established the Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) in 1959 as an autonomous body to cope with the expansion of the city and to help it to develop in a planned way. The principal responsibilities of CDA under this Ordinance are as follows: (i) to draw up a master plan for Chittagong and its adjoining area. This master plan is to be reviewed every five years; (ii) to design and execute short-term and long-term plans for the development and expansion of Chittagong City and (iii) to implement the East Bengal House Building Act of 1952. This includes the examination and approval of plans for construction of buildings in Chittagong.
The CDA drew up a master plan dividing the entire city into several blocks. The area, which was earmarked for port development projects with provisions for office blocks of mercantile firms, was Sadarghat, Madarbari, Double Moorings and Halishahar. Government offices as well as residential quarters of officers and staffs were located in Agrabad. The railway authorities developed the western fringe of the low hill ranges up to Pahartali. For the development of industries the CDA earmarked different zones for different industries. These zones were mainly in Nasirabad, Panchlais, Fauzdarhat, Kalurghat and on a site near the Dhaka Trunk Road.
By 1961 the CDA drew up a "Regional Plan" covering an area of 212 square miles and a "Master Plan" covering an area of 100 square miles. From the funds provided by the UNDP and UNCHS the following Master Plan was drawn up for Chittagong City during the years 1992 to 1996: (a) A structure plan for 1154 square kilometres of Chittagong city and the adjoining area, (b) Urban area Master Plan for Chittagong City, (c) Multi-Sectoral Investment Plan for the development of Chittagong City on a priority basis in a planned and balanced way, (d) Master Plan for drainage and flood-protection of Chittagong City, (e) Master Plan for easing the traffic congestion in Chittagong and for improvement of the traffic handling capacity of the city system, (f) Proposals for updating the laws and rules relating to City Development and plans for restructuring the administrative system ofCDA, and (g) Manpower development for better functioning of CDA and transfer of technology for future city planning and development.
M.M. Ispahani, A.K. Khan & Co. Ltd, Habib Group, Sanowara Group and the PHP Group are all resident in Chittagong.
In 1994, the City had elected its First Elected Mayor, Alhaj A.B.M. Mohiuddin Chowdhury. He had been in charge for almost a decade, winning one re-election, un-opposed. During his tenure, he was able to proceed with various development projects despite lack of official funding from successive Central Governments. He had also suffered from lack of jurisdiction in terms of implementing development projects since all the projects undertaken by the City Corporation have to be permitted by the Ministry of Local Government in Dhaka (LGRD Ministry) (see paragraph on limited mandate above). His effort has turned the city into the cleanest and most planned cosmopolitan urban area of Bangladesh with wide roads, improved sewerage system, etc. Unlike other City Corporations of Bangladesh, Chittagong City Corporation is financially self sufficient and runs schools, colleges, madrasas (religious schools), mosque complex, hospitals, primary health care clinics, and most importantly, a private University, Premier University. The most notable achievement of Mohiuddin was, implementing his development projects without raising any tax. Many of his development projects have been vetoed by the government in Dhaka due to political disagreement with him. Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) candidate Mir Nasir Uddin challenged the incumbent mayor Mohiuddin Chowdhury in Chittagong City Corporation Election on9 May 2005 . Mr Mohiuddin won a landslide victory for a third term with an increased majority of over 90,000 votes, despite widespread allegation that the ruling party Candidate Mr Nasir Uddin had help from the Government in the run up to the election. A massive crowd of at least 20 thousand people kept the election control room besieged over night, to stop any attempt to steal their mandate to Mohiuddin.
The administrative functions of Chittagong are carried out by a melange of organisations. The City Corporation of Chittagong is the only elected body. The Mayor and the Ward Commissioners are elected. The Chief Executive officer is a senior government official deputed by the government. There is no de jure focal point of control and coordination at the city level. The various agencies have respective lines of control, coordination, policy determination and finance terminating in various ministries in Dhaka. The Mayor being the seniormost elected official at the city level occasionally operates as a de facto centre of coordination on some operational matters.
The City Corporation has a rather limited mandate and budget for carrying out the responsibilities of managing some basic civic services like street-lighting, conservancy, sewerage, city beautification, maintenance of city roads and mosquito eradication, etc. The City Corporation collects municipal taxes and conservancy charges, which provide the principal source of finance for the Corporation.
Maintenance of Law and order in the city is the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate. The Home Ministry performs the function of control and coordination of both these institutions.
The office of the Deputy Commissioner maintains Land Records and collects Land Revenue. If land is to be acquired for any public use then it is the office of the Deputy Commissioner which carries out the procedural operations.
The District and Sessions Judge is the head of the judicial administration at the City Level. Trials relating to serious public offences and all the civil offences are carried out in the court of the District and Sessions Judge. The Supreme Court controls and coordinates the functions of the District and Sessions Judge.
The Power Development Board, The Titas Gas Co Ltd and the Oil companies are responsible for the supply of electricity, gas and fuel oil etc to the city, respectively. All these agencies come under the control and coordination of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources.
Health services are mainly provided by hospitals run by the Health Ministry. The City Corporation has its own Health Services and hospitals which supplement the services provided by the government and the NGOs. There are a number of NGO-run clinics in addition to mushrooming private clinics, which are run on a commercial basis.
Educational facilities in the city are substantially provided by the Ministry of Education, supplemented by the service provided by the City Corporation, NGOs, and the private sector. The Chittagong University, the Chittagong Medical College and the Chittagong Engineering College are almost totally funded by the government.
Chittagong port falls within the limits of the city of Chittagong. Hence all the basic civic services of the port fall within the responsibility of the City Corporation and various other governmental agencies serving in the area.
The Chittagong Development Authority (CDA), which consists of one Chairman and five Members (all are appointed by the government and may be either permanent government officials or non-officials), is primarily responsible for framing and implementing the Master Plan for city development. The CDA makes and implements plans for area development (ie commercial areas, residential areas and recreational areas etc) and city road development in accordance with the approved Master Plan for the city. The CDA is also responsible for enforcement of the city building code. No permanent structure can be built within the CDA area without prior approval of the plan by CDA. The CDA comes under the control and coordination of the Ministry of Works. The level of coordination with the City Corporation is more on an ad hoc basis and at an operational level.
The Department of Fire Brigade and Civil Defence, controlled by the Ministry of Home, provides fire fighting and emergency rescue services within the city areas. The Telephone and Telecommunication Department controlled by the T&T Ministry provides telecommunication services. A number of private telephone companies are also serving the area.
Most of the old and new buildings of the city are built on top of low hills and hillocks and also along the valleys and plains. The massive Court Buildings which accommodate the Civil Courts, Criminal Courts and the offices of the Divisional Commissioner (Recently shifted to Badsha Mia Road, Near Art College), Deputy Commissioner, and the District and Session Judges are on top of Fairy Hill. The top of this hill offers a panoramic view of the town below. The Karnafuli River up to its mouth and the Port area along its bank, the Deang and Banskhali Ranges to the south and the Hill Tracts to the east can be seen. All along the foothills are situated the General Post Office, the Municipal High School, New Market, and the Chittagong Development Authority Building. The General Hospital stands on top of the Rangmahal hill. The Telegraph Office, Divisional Forest Office, residences of the Divisional Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner are situated on top of a hill range known as the Tempest Hills.
Chittagong is the headquarters of the Eastern Zone of Bangladesh Railway. Established in 1891 as the Assam Bengal Railway, it later came to be known as Eastern Bengal Railway and then after 1947 as Pakistan Eastern Railway. The area from the Chittagong railway station up to Pahartali and the foothills through which the railway track runs to the north were developed by the railway authorities. This area is known as the Railway Colony and is one of the most attractive localities in the city. Beautiful bungalows were built on every vantage point on the hills. The Railway Club, the staff quarters, the General Office of the Railways, the Railway Hospital, the Pahartali workshop and other institutions are located in this area.
The Chittagong Circuit house was built by the British in 1913 on a beautiful location in the city. Later it was turned into a palatial building and used as a temporary residential accommodation for visiting Government high officials. After the murder of PresidentZiaur Rahman on May 20, 1981 in room No 4 of the Circuit House, the Circuit House was converted into the Zia Smriti Jadughar (Zia Memorial Museum).
The War Cemetery on Badshah Mia Road is another place of historic interest. It contains the graves of 755 soldiers of the Allied Forces died on the Indo-Burmese front during World War II. Most of the soldiers buried there were fromAustralia, Great Britain, Canada, East and West Africa, British India and New Zealand. The total area of the cemetery is eight acres and it is protected and maintained by the Commonwealth Graves Commission.
A historic fort known as the Andar Killa stood on top of a mound in the city centre. Describing the fort, Shihabuddin Talish wrote, "In strength it rivals the rampart of Alexander and its towers (buruj) are high as the falk-ul-buruj." Today no trace of the fort remains except the name, as it was utterly destroyed by the Mughals. A shopping centre by the name of Andar Killa was once very popular but Reazuddin Bazar to the west of Kutchery hills and the New Market close by have robbed it of much of its importance.
Another famous place for the wholesale and retail trade in the city is Chaktai. It is actually the old and abandoned bed of the river Karnafuli. Local merchants bring in their goods by boats and sampans through a canal that is known as the Chaktai Canal. Most of the offices of the wealthy businessmen, banks and insurance companies used to be located their and nearby Khatunganj-Amir Market Area. Agrabad is now the dominant commercial area in modern Chittagong.
Chittagong's Wooden Mosque.
Mosques and shrines
The city has also continued to be an influential centre of Islamic ideology, theology, art, and architecture in Bengal, ever since Islam's introduction in the region over 1,200 years ago. Islamic centres and institutions of interest include theAnderkella Jameh Masjid, a beautiful and vast mosque predating to the Mughal period, the colourful and multi-domed Chandanpura Masjid , the 17th-century Shahi Jameh Masjid of Mughal origin, and the modern and magnificent Jamaat-ul-Falah Masjid, soon to be Bangladesh's largest mosque and Islamic centre.
Chittagong is known as the land of saints, darwishes and fakirs. Several mosques and shrines bear testimony to their presence in the city.
The most revered place in Chittagong is the Dargah of Hazrat Bayazid Bostami, a celebrated saint born in Bostam, Iran in 777. It is a popular belief that he visited Chittagong. Emperor Aurangzeb built a mosque on the bank of a big tank at the foot of the hillock on which the shrine stands. The tank contains several hundred tortoises and it is traditionally believed that the tortoises are the descendants of the evil spirits whose ancestors, having incurred the wrath of the great saint, were metamorphosed into tortoises.
Hazrat Badar Aulia was a saint and preacher who is said to have spread Islam in Chittagong. However there is some controversy about the identity of the saint and he is known by different names in different regions of Bangladesh. Some of the names he is known by are Badar Alam, Badar Mokam, Badar Pir and Badar Aulia. According to tradition he drove away evil spirits by burning a lamp (chati) from which the place took the name of Chatigram. The hill on top of which the Chati was lit is called Cheragee Pahad, Hill of the Lamp. This hill is in the Jamal-Khan residential area of the city. The Chittagong City Corporation has recently built a beautiful dome upon this hill. The dargah of Hazrat Badar Aulia is situated at the Badarpati in Baxihat.
The Dargah Sharif of Hazrat Shah Amanat (Quddus Serrahul Aziz) is one of the most renowned dargahs of Chittagong. It lies to the north of the Central Jail and to the east of Laldighi. Though the exact date of birth of Hazrat Shah Amanat is not known it is believed that he lived in the later part of the 18th and early part of the 19th century. Thousands visit his dargah everyday.
Beside the above named dargahs there are numerous shrines scattered all over the city. Of these mention may be made of Chashma-i-Hazrat Shaikh Farid whose dargah is at Nasirabad near Solashahar Railway Station and of Hazrat Mollah Miskin situated on the eastern slope of the Madrasah hill on the College Road.
The Madani Masjid in Love Lane is a very important and regular visiting place for many of the Muslims. As this mosque acts as "Markaz" or the central mosque for the non political movement called Tabligh Jamaat.
Chittagong is connected with the rest of Bangladesh by road, rail, air and water. It is connected by air with Dhaka, Bangkok and Kolkata.
In Bengal, Sher Shah apparently took the first significant step in long distance road-building in the first half of the sixteenth century. The Grand Trunk Road of Sher Shah ran down the Ganges Valley connecting Dhaka and Chittagong. This was the first major road link between these two cities of which there is clear record. Efforts at connecting Chittagong by road with central Bengal however, predate Sher Shah by about two centuries. There is evidence that Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, the independent ruler of Sonargaon, after his conquest of Chittagong, built a military road connecting Chittagong with Chandpur. However, when the British acquired Chittagong district in 1760, they inherited a very rudimentary road system - basically the old Trunk Road from Chittagong to Dhaka. In 1898-99 of the total length of 577 miles of road in the Chittagong district, just one mile was metalled, that being the Maheskhali Strand road along the port's waterfront. Since 1962 construction of roads received due attention of the government and an increase in the mileage of metal roads is evident. The principal roads run in the northeasterly and southeasterly directions from Chittagong.
Till the twenties of the twentieth century only hackney carriages and bullock carts could be seen on the roads of Chittagong. Around this time motor vehicles, brought in by some zamindars and Europeans, could be seen in the town. Around 1924-25 taxicabs were first introduced between Chittagong and some nearby areas eg Hat Hazari, 12 miles from Chittagong and Nazirhat, 23 miles away. Taxis also used the Ramgarh Road, which ran northeast from the town to the border of the district. A few years later half-ton buses replaced the taxis. Rickshaws were first introduced in the city in 1947. The same year, a bus service in the town was introduced. Gradually this service was extended to include the greater city area. In 1962 auto-rickshaws came in to meet the demands of the growing town.
At present, with the growth and development of a network of roads connecting Chittagong with other districts of Bangladesh much of the trade and traffic which used the waterways have been diverted to the roads and railways. Everyday hundreds of truck loaded with all kinds of commodities can now be seen plying the on roads.
The necessity of connecting the Port of Chittagong to the tea gardens of Assam led to the construction of railways in Chittagong. The Assam Bengal Railway Company was formed in London in 1891 with a capital of Ã‚Â£150,000. The railway line was built on the metre gauge of 3' 33/8". The first railway line connecting the Port toAssam was opened in 1895. Thereafter other lines were laid connecting the city and the district to the rest of Bangladesh. Chittagong Railway Station is situated near the Bipani Bitan, known also as the New Market, and Reazuddin Bazar. Besides the inter-district trains there are local trains connecting the city with Dohazari, Nazirhat and Chittagong University.
The Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport is situated on the bank of the river Karnafuli and is about eleven kilometres from the city centre. Most of the other districts of Bangladesh are connected to Chittagong by air. There is a good road connection between the city centre and the airport and passengers can reach it by car, bus and auto-rickshaw.
Chittagong City is connected with the rest of Bangladesh by a network of coastal water routes. Coastal vessels carry most of the bulk cargo from Chittagong to other important trading centres in the country. Among the important items carried are fuel oil, cement, food grains and salt. Passenger service along the coastal route was never very popular and safe. At present there is practically no passenger service on this route. In Chittagong there are two launch and steamer terminals. They are known as Majhirghat and Sadarghat. Majhirghat is the older of the two. Though once traders and merchants used to come to this place with their boats and sampans loaded with cargoes, it is no longer a popular centre of trade. Sadarghat, which is situated near Majhirghat, is now the popular launch and steamer terminal of the city. Everyday launches and steamers leave and reach this terminal regularly with passengers and cargoes, to and from nearby islands like Sandwip, Kutubdia, and Maheshkhali.
Source: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Chittagong.