Residents of Chattogram, the country's most important urban centre next to the capital, have voiced their displeasure over plans to build a 500-bed hospital as well as a medical college over six acres of land in a historic corner of the city, that is also cherished for its greenery.
The CRB area, that takes its name from the Central Railway Building - built by the British colonial administration in 1872 as the headquarters of the Assam-Bengal Railway - is a scenic, hilly quarter of the Port City known for its Shireesh trees (Albizia Lebeck) Surrounded by centuries-old trees, hills, hills and valleys, this area is home to a variety of species of birds and animals.
Chattogram residents celebrate the Bengali New Year on April 14 every year on an open stage called "Shireeshtala" at CRB area. CRB also hosts the famed "Boli Khela", an annual freehand wrestling challenge that draws competitors from far and wide.
Besides, ordinary citizens of all ages and backgrounds gather in the area every day to catch the fresh air.
It's not as if Chatdgaiyas are spoilt for choice when it comes to medical facilities in the city. The trading hub's moneyed residents routinely have to visit Dhaka to avail the services available at large, private hospitals. This demand for private healthcare has now been noticed. Earlier this year, Evercare Hospitals opened a 470-bed facility in the Ananna R/A of Chattogram. Evercare have also taken over the old Apollo Hospital in Dhaka from the STS Group.
Recently it emerged that Bangladesh Railway, which owns much of the land in the CRB area, struck a deal in March 2020 with United Enterprise and Company (owners of United Hospital in Dhaka) to build a 500-bed hospital and 100-seat medical college on six acres of land in CRB.