The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) today approved a Taka 3,397.81 crore project to ensure infrastructural development at country's three selected city corporations and one Pourashava alongside enhancing skills of their administration and improving the living standards of people.
The approval came from a meeting of the ECNEC held with its chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. The Premier joined the meeting virtually from her official Ganobhaban residence while Ministers, State Ministers, Planning Commission members and Secretaries concerned attended the meeting from the NEC Conference Room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister M A Mannan said that the meeting approved a total of 12 projects involving estimated cost of Taka 12,016.88 crore. "Of the total project cost, Taka 7,990.14 crore will come from the government, Taka 594.43 crore from the concerned organization's own fund while the rest of Taka 3,432.31 crore as project assistance,"
State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were also present at the briefing.
Revealing some of the directives from the Prime Minister in the meeting, the Planning Minister said the Premier has directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to expedite the process for setting up a marine aquarium in Cox's Bazar.
Supplementing this, the member of the General Economics Division (GED) of the Planning Commission Prof Dr Kawser Ahmed informed that the Prime Minister had earlier directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to initiate process for setting up a marine aquarium there.
Following that, he said a feasibility study has been conducted while a Development Project Proposal (DPP) has already been framed. But, due to some necessity, the Ministry of Science and Technology will submit the DPP before the Planning Commission after some amendments. "The aquarium will be an attractive one and people will also learn many things from it," Kawser added.
The Planning Minister said the Prime Minister has also asked the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) to complete their works in a speedy manner.
When asked about the budget recommendation of a chamber for not incorporating too many Development schemes in the fresh Annual Development Programme (ADP), Mannan said that since the Awami League government is running the country, it has duties and responsibilities to its people.
He said the government takes its own decisions based on the track record, experiences, global market situation and also knowing about the mindset of the development partners.
"The government of Sheikh Hasina is a proactive government and it wants to unleash development being proactive. We've given full freedom to the private sector to do their work and our main goal is to ensure sustainable development," Mannan said adding that the budget recommendations of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) which would be deemed practical, would be considered.
Replying to another question on the latest crisis in Sri Lanka, the Planning Minister said that the government neither do any unnecessary work nor undertake any unnecessary project.
However, he alleged that some quarters are trying to replicate the current situation in Sri Lanka on Bangladesh which is not at all acceptable considering economic aspect and social aspect.
"Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are completely two different economies...and their fundamentals are also different. We're keeping close eye on the remarks of the experts and researchers and we should be careful. But, I think there is not any reasonable doubt to think like that (current situation in Sri Lanka)."
Answering to a question, Planning Commission member Md Mamun-Al-Rashid said that efforts are on especially from the Road Transport and Highways Division to reduce dependency on the consultants for implementing projects.
Mamun told replying another question that following a decision from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the issue of fixing rate schedule for projects is being looked after by the Finance Division. But, till now unified rate schedule is yet to be rolled out, rather individual rate schedule is in place, he added.
When asked about the potentiality of setting up a plant of Essential Drug Company Limited in Manikganj, Planning Commission member Mst Nasima Begum said that this plant would be 18 times bigger than its plant in Dhaka and it would be built considering the demands of next 100 years.
"New diseases are being emerged while the population of the country is also increasing, hopefully this plant will be able to meet the demand of time," she added.
Of the approved 12 projects, 10 are new, two are revised
Planning Commission officials said the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) under the Local Government Division will implement the Urban Development and City Governance (UDCG) project with around Taka 3.397.81 crore by December 2026.
The project will be implemented at Narayanganj, Gazipur and Cumilla City Corporation areas and also in Cox's Bazar Pourashava.
Out of the total project cost, Taka 1,182.24 crore will come from the state coffer while the rest of Taka 2,215.55 crore as project loan from JICA.
The main project operations include construction of five bridges, two overpasses, one flyover, 32 box culverts, 43 pipe culverts, five kilometer RCC retaining walls, construction of 37.60 kilometer drains, seven hard load management units, nine deep tube wells with water distribution system, erection of 130 kilometer street lights, 2.20 kilometer walkways, some 5,000 square meter play ground, construction of three bus terminals and 6,170 square meter office buildings.
The day's meeting also approved a Taka 2,272.47 crore project to increase the power distribution capacity of the Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO) in a bid to ensure sustainable and reliable power supply to its clients.
DESCO under the Power Division of the Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry will implement the project titled "Dhaka Power System Expansion and Strengthening Project in DESCO Areas" by December 2025.
Of the total project cost of Taka 2,272.47 crore, the government will provide Taka 446.50 crore, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide Taka 1,231.54 crore as loan while the rest of Taka 594.42 crore will come from the concerned organisation's own fund.
Under the project, the capacity of the existing power sub
stations would be increased through reorganization of power load side by side with the power distribution capacity of 33Kilo Volt(KV) voltage level would be upgraded to 720/1080 Mega Volt Ampere(MVA) while that of the 11KV voltage level to 595 MVA.
The project area covers Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Bashundhara, Mirpur Ceramics, Mirpur Swapno Nagar Residential Area, Baridhara and Rupayan City in Uttara, Tongi under Gazipur City Corporation, Purbachal under Rupganj Upazila of Narayanganj district.
The other projects approved in the meeting are President Md Abdul Hamid Shilpokola Academy and regional cultural center, Mithamoin, Kishoreganj with Taka 69.56 crore, Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute (2nd phase) with Taka 443.94 crore, Construction and reconstruction of government Shishu Poribar and Chotomoni Nibash hostels, 1st revised with an additional cost of Taka 88.49 crore, Irrigation Management Improvement (IMI) for Muhuri Irrigation, 3rd revised with a reduced cost of Taka 17.45 crore, Coastal Embankment Rehabilitation, improvement of drainage system and embankment protection at Tojumuddin and Lalmohon upazilas in Bhola district, 1st phase of Taka 1,096.60 crore, irrigation and drainage system development at Purbodhala upazila in Netrakona with Taka 205.94 crore, Riverbank protection work, wave protection and canal re-excavation at 10 upazilas under Kishoreganj district with Taka 654.26 crore, Rural infrastructures development in Jhenidah district with Taka 500 crore, Rural infrastructures development in greater Pabna and Bogura districts, 2nd phase of Taka 1,400 crore, and establishment of Essential Drugs Company Limited, Manikganj Plant with Taka 1,905.26 crore.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)