Putting an end to all speculation, the 26th edition of the month-long Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) is likely to begin on 17 March at the newly built Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Centre in Purbachal.
China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), a Chinese state-owned company, has already completed the construction of the country's largest exhibition venue.
Project Director Mohammad Rezaul Karim told The Business Standard that the CSCEC will hand over the site to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) this month.
The project, which started in October 2017, cost Tk800 crore – Tk625 crore of which was donated by China Aid.
Apart from hosting the upcoming international trade fair, the government plans to exhibit exportable goods throughout the year.
Visiting the site last Thursday, CSCEC officials were found showing EPB officials around the entire project site.
CSCEC Project Director Chen Long told The Business Standard, "Our work is finished. Now is the time to explain the completed project to the EPB."
"EPB authorities have talked to us. They will soon fix a day when we will hand it over to them," he added.
Chen Long said here are all facilities that an exhibition centre of international standard is supposed to have.
Location of exhibition centre
Going ahead along the 300-feet Road after crossing the Kuril Biswa Road of the capital, one finds Kanchan Bridge. Turning left from there is the exhibition centre, a spectacular sight to behold, situated on 20-acres of land.
An open space hits you while entering through the main gate of the exhibition centre. To the east and west are two 7,000 square feet exhibition halls with a food court in front of them. There is a multi-functional conference room on the second floor with a seating capacity of 460 people. In addition, there is space for children to play.
Mahmudul Hasan, EPB director for fair exhibition, said as per the primary decision, the exhibition hall will accommodate mini-pavilions and stalls meant for the trade fair.
Attempts will be made to set up a premium pavilion or large pavilion outside, added the official.
The stalls inside the hall could be 20-square foot each though the master plan has yet to be finalised. However, he said there will be fewer stalls this year compared to a year ago.
A total of 250 slots – including for the pavilion, the mini-pavilion, the premier pavilion, restaurants, and stalls – will likely be allotted.
"We have been recently allotted six-acres of land at the back of the exhibition centre," Mahmudul said, adding that there will be a food stall, too, at the rear of the centre.
The Bangabandhu Pavilion will be in front of the entrance between the two halls.
A letter has already been sent to BRTC to make arrangements for shuttle bus service during the fair.
Project Director Mohammad Rezaul Karim told The Business Standard the project has so far cost Tk800 crore – with land prices included.
He said electricity, water and internet lines have been laid underground. There is a parking facility for one thousand cars also.
Since the inception of the Dhaka International Trade Fair in 1995, local companies have seen trade fairs as a means of introducing their brands.
Further, there is immense curiosity among buyers to visit the fair. DITF usually starts on 1 January every year. However, this time the fair has been deferred due to the novel coronavirus.
EPB Secretary Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said a decision has been taken to inaugurate the fair on Bangabandhu's birthday on 17 March.
"We are making preparations for 17 March, and are waiting for the consent of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who will inaugurate the fair," he said.