Maheshkhali Development Plan

The Government of Bangladesh recently disclosed mid-term plan of 17 projects for developing several infrastructures surrounding Maheshkhali Upazila, Cox's Bazar including Matarbari and Sonadia Islands. The plan consists 3 power plants, 4 gas pipelines, 2 LNG terminals, 5 Economic Zones, 1 regional highway and 1 Eco-tourism park along with a IT Park.

Map of Maheshkhali Upazila. Source: Banglapedia
The detail Plan is as follows:
  1. Bangladesh-Singapore 700 MW Coal-based Power Plant: 1,197.88 Acre 
  2. Kohelia 700 MW Coal Power Plant: 360 Acre
  3. LNG and Coal-based Thermal Power Plants: 4,961.9535 Acre
  4. Matarbari (600 X 2) 1,200 MW USC Coal Power Plant: 1,414.05 Acre
  5. Installation of SPM with Double Pipeline Project: 32.4030 Acre
  6. Maheshkhali - Anowara 79 km parallel Gas Pipeline (Diameter: 42 Inch): 26.563 Acre
  7. Maheshkhali - Anowara 91 km Gas Pipeline (Diameter: 30 Inch) 
  8. Maheshkhali Zero Point - Maheshkhali CTM 7 km Gas Pipeline (Diameter: 42 Inch)
  9. Sonadia LNG Terminal-1: 500.00 Acre
  10. LNG Terminal-2: 700 Acre 
  11. Kohelia Economic Zone (Dhalghata): 1,000.00 Acre
  12. Maheshkhali Economic Zone-1 (proposed): 826.00 Acre 
  13. Maheshkhali Economic Zone-2 (proposed):670.00 Acre
  14. Maheshkhali Economic Zone (BEZA): 11,471.271 Acre
  15. Maheshkhali Economic Zone-3 (Dhalghata): 3,055.46 Acre
  16. Sonadia Eco-tourism Park under BEZA: 8,045.7755 Acre
  17. Road, Bridge and Approach Road to connect Matarbari Coal Power Plant: 62.257 Acre
  18. Digital Island Maheshkhali
These projects will take 33,963.613 Acres of land from the common people who are actually small & marginal farmers or fisherfolks. The Matarbari Island (Dhalghata and Matarbari) has only 7,176 acre of lands. Among the area 1,414.05 Acre and 1,197.88 acres have been taken by Matarbari Coal Power Plant and Bangladesh-Singapore Coal Power Plant respectively. China demands another 360 acres of land for Kohelia Coal Power Plant. Another 62.257 acres of land already have taken for approach road to Matarbari Coal Power Plant. In total 3,034.19 acres of land is going for three different coal power plants. On the other hand, 2 Economic Zones (Maheshkhali Economic Zone-3 and Kohelia Economic Zone) will take 4,055.46 acres of land. Total lands acquired by the government and different projects in Matarbari Island is 7,027.39 acres while the island's whole area is only 7,176.00 acres. That means, the 57,814 inhabitants of Matarbari Island, who are majorly farmer and fisherfolk, will be displaced forcefully.

Sonadia Island is another small island with an area of around 9 sq. km. (2,224 acres) of land. It is a bird sanctuary for migratory birds like petrels, snipe, shanks, lapwings, geese, ducks and other waterfowl. It's one of the major attractions of tourists and bird watchers also. Sonadia has been declared as ECA by the Government of Bangladesh. Contrarily the government plans for constructing a LNG terminal and an Eco-tourism park in the island. Almost one fourth portion of the island (500 acre) will be taken by the government while BEZA is planning to develop a Eco-tourism park which is much more larger than the island (8045.7755 acre). It is clear that BEZa will acquire other offshore islands along with Sonadia. It is a major concern that excessive tourism along with the LNG terminal will potentially destroy the natural resources of Sonadia including vulnerable bird species.


  • BEZA:  Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority 
  • LNG: Liquefied Natural Gas 
  • SPM: Single Point Mooring 
  • USC: Ultra-super Critical