The town of Mongla, officially named as ‘Mongla Port Paurashava‘ (municipality) is the second largest seaport of Bangladesh. It is situated in the upazila (sub-district) with the same name, under Bagerhat district, only 62 km north of Bay of Bengal and 48 km south from the nearest divisional city, Khulna. Standing about 18 km upstream on the river Poshur, Mongla can be termed as the gateway to the world’s largest mangrove forest ‘Sundarbans’ and thus have a unique potential to emerge as a tourist town. Initially the port was established in Chalna (further up north) in 1977 but later shifted to Mongla in 1987 for better navigability.
The area of the town is 17.79 square kilometers (sq. km.) and it had a population of 39,387 as per the census in 2011 (population density 2,239 per sq. km.) According to local data and information, the population is around 67,000 now and it gets up to about 120,000 people due to seasonal migration.
After the implementation of the project, Mongla would become the first tourism-based economic town of Bangladesh promoting forest and aquatic activities like parasailing, boating and fishing. The cozy vacation home rentals (also homestay programs) will serve as a perfect transit stop in budget price with soothing and comfortable accommodation after a long travel. Travelers can rest for a while before jumping into the world’s largest Mangrove forest for wild adventure or just settle down to experience the local culture. As a seaport, having all the infrastructure already available, Mongla will introduce sea ferries and cruise ships to popular tourist destinations near the coastline like Koromjal, Dublar Cha’ (Island of Dubla), Hironpoint, Kotka, Pokkhir Cha’ (Island of Birds), Dudmukhi and Tengragiri Wild Life Sanctuary etc. Tourists can take a day trip to a particular destination and come back to the town. Furthermore, inside the city, multilevel natural park system along the swamps with connected walkways and pedestrian bridge will facilitate biodiversity research and development.
The town at present boasts a water treatment plant incorporating rainwater harvesting; which meets the demand for 4,500 households. But still it is not enough for the expected demand in future. The problem of inadequate drinking water will be mitigated by creating a network of waterbodies with an expansion of the current rainwater harvesting system. As for transportation network, ensuring walkability and efficient public transport system for moving inside the city is the priority in a city where increased motorization and carbon emission will certainly deteriorate the air quality and environment. There will be adequate pedestrian promenade shaded by native trees and street-side amenities like food shop, resting place, adequate street lamps to provide safety and comfort. A well connected road network connecting the neighboring towns and the proposed Mongla expressway by the government will ensure better intercity transportation by reducing travel time. Moreover, for a sustainable growth for the city there will be provisions for an amphitheater, a stadium, residential housing scheme and commercial high rises.
February 8, 2023
BI / BAU Works: Phultola Community Center, Khulna, 2018