Chittagong City

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' 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.

People 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.

The vast 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.

With the 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.

The 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.

Though 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 houses.

Cheragee Pahad, Chittagong

Chittagong 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.

Nature 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 region.'

The 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.

Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq divided Bengal into three administrative units - lakhnauti, satgaon and sonargaon. 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.

Chittagong 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.

The 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.  

The 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.

During 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.

During 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.

The War 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.

The City 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.

After 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 Memorial Museum)

Its 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 Kalurghat.

The 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.

The CDA 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.

By 1961 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 and development.

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 operational matters.

Chittagong City Corporation Building

The City 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.

Maintenance 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 institutions.

The 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 operations.

The 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.

The 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.

Health 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.

The 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.

chittagong 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Places 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.

Circuit House (At present Zia Memorial Museum)

Chittagong 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 this area.

The 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.

Chittagong General Hospital

The 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 Graves Commission.  

Chittagong Court Building

A 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.

Another 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.

Mosques 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.

Bayejid Bostami Shrine

The most 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.

Hazrat 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 Bashihat.

The Dargah 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.

Beside 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.

Means of 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.

Till the 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.

At 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.

Central Railway Building, Chittagong

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 Chittagong University.

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]