Chittagong City is not only the principal city of
the district of Chittagong but also the second largest city of
Bangladesh. It is situated within 22°-14´ and 22°-24´-30´´ N Latitude and
between 91°-46´ and 91°-53´ E Longitude and on the Right Bank of the
river Karnafuli. Historians have given various explanations as to the
origin of the name Chittagong. Bernoli in his Description Historique
et Geographic de L’Inde (1786) explains that the name Chittagong came
from the Arabic word Shat (delta) prefixed to Ganga (Ganges), indicating the city at the mouth of the Ganges. The
district received the name ‘Chittagong’ from the city.
and language Being a port city from early
times, Chittagong attracted people from various regions of the world.
These international contacts left a lasting impact on the language,
religion and culture of the city. Al Idrisi, writing in 1154 AD,
states that Arab merchants from Baghdad and Basrah frequently visited an
area near the mouth of the Meghna, which is now generally believed to be
Chittagong. Other travellers and historians have recorded Arab contacts
with Chittagong as far back as the ninth century AD. Apart from the
merchants, many sufis and saints also visited and settled in
Chittagong. The conquest of Bengal by bakhtiyar khalji
in 1204 led to large-scale Muslim settlement in Chittagong. The frequent
intercourse with people of different races, religions and cultures which
trade and settlement entailed left a permanent mark on the physical features,
dialect and religion of the people of Chittagong.
majority of the people of Chittagong are Muslims; a small percentage of
Hindus and Christians also live in the city. There are a good number of
Arabic words in the dialect spoken in Chittagong; besides many places and
people have Arabic names as well. The names of places like Alkaran (Al-qarn),
or Sulek Bahar (Sulukul Bakulia) are of Arab derivation. Apart from Arabic words certain
Arakanese, Portuguese, Pali and Hindi words are also found in the
Chittagonian dialect, which is generally known as Chatgaiyan Buli.
The majority of the people in Bangladesh do not understand this dialect.
Though the Chittagonians’ spoken Bangla is different, their written
Bangla is the same as in the rest of Bangladesh.
advent of foreigners Chittagong became a melting pot of different races.
As a result, in the streets of the city of Chittagong one will come
across people of varied features. Certain physical features are generally
noticed in people who have foreign blood in them. High cheekbones, narrow
faces and hooknoses proclaim Arab lineage, while the muscular,
bull-necked, strong-featured and thick-bearded are the descendants of the
Afghan and the Mughal soldiers.
Of the Europeans, the descendants of
the portuguese are still to be seen in
Chittagong. Most of them married local women and are known as Kala Firinghis or Matia (earth
coloured) Firinghis. They are mostly Roman Catholic Christians.
During the British period they enjoyed certain privileges and were
given preference in appointments in certain institutions like the port
and the railway and to clerical posts in government offices. An area in
the city known as Firingi Bazar is said to be named after them.
The most significant contribution of the Portuguese is the presence of
many Portuguese words in the Bengali language, which are in daily use till
now. A few examples are - anarax
(pineapple), pepe (papaya), padri (clergyman), fita (ribbon), alpin (pin), botam (button), chabi (key) etc.
people of Chittagong are very enterprising and have always been found
ready to leave their hearth and home in search of better opportunities.
Many took to a seafaring life while others went to the neighbouring
country of Myanmar. This immigration was checked with the outbreak of the
Second World War and the separation of Burma from India. In the wake of
the Japanese occupation of Burma many Chittagonians tried to return home.
Thousands perished trying to find their way through hostile terrain
infested by wild animals. About this time a popular uprising among the
Burmese against everything non-Burmese resulted in a further exodus of
the Chittagonians from Burma. Many of these Chittagonians were carrying
on lucrative business in timber and rice. In 1947 after the partition of
India a similar fate befell the Chittagonians who were working in the
ports of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay. They had to leave their jobs and
begin afresh in Chittagong. Their return, however, introduced a highly
skilled group into the economy of the city. They brought with them
entrepreneurship, capital and technical know-how, which gave a great
boost to the economy of the city.
the partition of India in 1947 drove out the Chittagonians from Burma and
India, it offered many opportunities to the Muslims of India and
Pakistan. Thus it is seen that during the decade 1951-61 there was a
heavy influx of Muslim refugees, mainly traders, businessmen,
industrialists, employees and labourers from India and West Pakistan to
Chittagong. The support of discriminatory policies and state patronage,
which were evidently politically motivated, were offered to Muslim
immigrants from India and West Pakistan. This led to a marked increase in
their population, mainly within the Chittagong Municipality. The Aga
Khanis, the Cutchy Memons, Bohras and Nakhudas from Mumbai and Surat were
the leading businessmen and industrialists in Chittagong after 1947.
However in the seventies most of these immigrants left and business and
trade in Chittagong reverted to the people based in Chittagong.
Topography Chittagong is very
different in terms of topography, with the exception of Sylhet and
northern Dinajpur, from the rest of Bangladesh, being a 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
State and enters Chittagong across the river Feni. The range loses height
as it approaches Chittagong town and breaks up into small hillocks
scattered all over the town. This range appears again on the southern
bank of the Karnafuli river and extends from one end of the district to
the other. Chandranath or Sitakunda is the highest peak in the district,
with an altitude of 1152 feet above mean sea level. Nangarkhana to the
north of Chittagong town 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. This famous hill,
like other beautiful hills and hillocks in the city of Chittagong, is
being gradually levelled up and reduced in height for the construction of
district 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, big and small, were dug
during the Muslim period. The most popular reason 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 in Chittagong city mention may be made of 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 Pahadtali Railway Station. These lakes
served as reservoirs to supply water to the Railway. Foy’s Lake was dug
in 1924 and was named after the Railway engineer Foy. Both the lakes are
places of attraction because of their beautiful location.
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.
History The city of
Chittagong attracted the attention of the outside world from a very early
date. The Arabs knew its port in the ninth century AD. De Barros, the
first of the great 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
early history of Chittagong is not very clear. Burmese chronicles speak
of a long line of kings over the region of Arakan, which included
Chittagong in the sixth and seventh century AD. The names of these kings
invariably ended with the title Chandra. Historian Lama Taranath mentions
a Buddhist king Gopichandra who had his capital at Chittagong in the
tenth century. According to Tibetan traditions Chittagong was the
birthplace of the Buddhist Tantric Tilayogi, who lived and worked in the
tenth century. Whatever might have been its early history, Chittagong’s
history becomes clear with the advent of the Muslims to the region.
Tughlaq divided Bengal into three administrative units - lakhnauti,
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. During the period from 1538 to
1666 the Portuguese made inroads into Chittagong and virtually ruled it.
During these 128 years Chittagong became the home of Portuguese and Magh
pirates. The occupation of Chittagong by the Mughals restored peace and
order in the district as a whole and in the city in particular. However,
during the period of Portuguese occupation Chittagong city and port
acquired great fame as centres of business and trade. During the 18th and
19th centuries, with the gradual rise and development of Calcutta, due
mainly to the trading activities of the east india
company, Chittagong lost its importance in the region.
once again came into prominence after the partition
of bengal, 1905 and the creation of the new province of
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 it.
history of Chittagong shows repeated attempts by the people to free
themselves from the colonial rule of the British. At the time of the sepoy revolt,
1857 the 2nd, 3rd and 4th companies of the 34th Bengal Infantry Regiment
were stationed at Chittagong. On the night of 18 November the three
above-named companies rose in rebellion and after releasing all the
prisoners from jail, the Sepoys left Chittagong carrying with them
three government elephants, 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.
Khilafat and Non-Cooperation movements were strongly supported by the
people of Chittagong. Communal riots and massacre of Muslims in Calcutta
and other parts of India in 1925, however, led the people of Chittagong
to lend support to the Muslim leaders of Bengal who were fighting to
uphold the interests of the Muslims.
the early part of the twentieth century, when a terrorist movement was
gaining ground, one group of Hindu youths led by surya sen formed a secret party known as the
Republican Army. In the Hindu areas of the town secret centres were opened
where youths received physical training, got initiated into terrorism and
continued their activities against the British for several years. On the
night of 18 April 1930, 700 youths divided themselves into several groups
and at a fixed time attacked the Armoury and the Magazine House of the
Auxiliary Corps, occupied the telephone and telegraph offices and removed
Railway fishplates at Dhoom, disconnecting all communications. The
movement, however, failed and the subsequent arrest and hanging of Surya Sen
on 12 January 1934 put an end to terrorist activities in Chittagong.
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 was bombarded for two successive days in April 1942
and again on the 20 and 24 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 to Mymensingh.
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.
of Chittagong played a significant role in the war of liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. It was
from Chittagong that the first public announcement was made over the
radio declaring Independence and the start of the War of Liberation. The
people of Chittagong denied the occupation army of Pakistan access to the
sea and the facilities for reinforcement of troops and replenishment of
arms. The valiant freedom fighters sank a good number of ships in the
channel of the karnafuli
river and thus totally blocked the port so that the Pakistani Occupation
Army could not use it. Consequently, Chittagong suffered enormous losses
in terms of people and properties during the War of Liberation.
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 liberation, Chittagong became generally operational
both as a city and as a port.
Growth 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.
Circuit House (now Zia
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
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.
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.
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 of CDA, and (g) Manpower development for better
functioning of CDA and transfer of technology for future city planning
Administration 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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Ministry of Education, supplemented by the service provided by the City
Corporation, NGOs, and the private sector, substantially provides
educational facilities in the city. The Chittagong University, the Chittagong
Medical College and the Chittagong Engineering College are almost totally
funded by the government.
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.
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.
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.
of interest The beautiful buildings, mosques
and shrines of Chittagong bear witness to its history from the ancient times
to the present. 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, 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.
One can see 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. 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.
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 railway authorities developed the area from the Chittagong
railway station up to Pahartali and the foothills through which the
railway track runs to the north. 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
British built the Chittagong Circuit house 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 President ziaur rahman on 30 May 1981 in room No 4 of the
Circuit House, the Circuit House was converted into the Zia Smrti
Jadughar (Zia Memorial Museum) and a children amusement park took
place in front of the Museum.
War Cemetery on Badshah Mia Road is another place of historic interest.
It contains the graves of 755 soldiers of the Allied Forces who laid
down their lives on the Indo-Burmese front during World War II. Most of
the soldiers buried there were from Australia, 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
Central Railway Building,
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.
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 are located there.
and Shrines Chittagong is known as the land
of saints, darwishes and fakirs. Several mosques and
shrines bear testimony to their presence in the city.
revered place in Chittagong is the Dargah or shrine of Hazrat bayazid bostami, a
celebrated saint born in Bostam, Iran in 777 AD. 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.
Badar Aulia was a great 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- ie Hill of the Lamp. This hill is in the Jamal Khan 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.
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.
the above named dargahs there are numerous shrines scattered all over
the city. Of this 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.
Bayezid Bostami’s Shrine
Communication Chittagong is connected with the
rest of Bangladesh by road, rail, air and water.
Roads 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.
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.
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.
Railway 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 £150,000. The railway line
was built on the metre gauge of 3’ 33/8’’. The first railway line
connecting the Port to Assam 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
Airways 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.
Waterways 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.
[Shireen Hasan Osmany]