ECNEC approves Tk 43.23b RIVER project to reduce risks of flood-prone areas

ECNEC approves Tk 43.23b RIVER project to reduce risks of flood-prone areasBSS

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Sunday approved a Taka 4,323.47 crore Resilient Infrastructure for Adaptation and Vulnerability Reduction Project (RIVER) in a bid to reduce flood risks of the sudden flood-prone communities and people living along the river banks.

The approval came from a meeting of the ECNEC, with its Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, held at the NEC Conference Room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam informed that the day's meeting approved a total of eight projects with an overall estimated cost of Taka 12,167.15 crore.

"Of the total project cost, Taka 3,097.91 crore will come from the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) portion, Taka 156.47 crore from the concerned organization's own fund while the lion share of Taka 8,912.77 crore from project assistance," he added.

Planning Division Secretary Satyajit Karmakar, planning commission members and secretaries concerned were present at the briefing.

Of the approved 8 projects, 6 are new while 2 others are revised projects.

Besides, the meeting also gave approval for time extension of four projects without raising cost of those.

The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) under the Local Government Division will implement the RIVER project by June 2028. Of the total project cost of Taka 4,323.47 crore, Taka 48.47 crore will come from the Government of Bangladesh portion while the rest of Taka 4,275 crore as project assistance from IDA of the World Bank.

Once the project is implemented, it would also help to enhance the capacity of the flood-prone communities in disaster preparedness and making response. The project will be implemented in 78 upazilas under 14 districts.

The main project operations include - construction of some 500 primary schools cum flood shelters, setting up some 100 solar-powered small grids, alleviating the height of some 250 fields and improvement of 275 kilometer flood shelter connecting road, construction of 500 meter bridge, 1,330 meter culverts, development of 110 kilometer community infrastructure connecting road, establishment of 15 landing stages, installation of solar lights on some 6,600 roads and installation of some 1,400 lightening prevention machines.

At the very outset of the meeting, the state minister said that a brief on the state of the country's economy was presented before the ECNEC.

He said that the meeting was apprised that the macroeconomic stability and balance have remained intact due to the timely decisions, strategies and policies of the government under the courageous and planned leadership of the Prime Minister despite facing many adversities.

Dr Alam said that the general point to point inflation is on the downtrend since September last due to the financial assistance provided to the helpless people and also for enhanced domestic production.

Besides, he said that the inward remittance flow has increased due to the stimulus packages and timely policies and strategies of the government, the import cost has reduced while the export earnings have increased which has also helped to increase the foreign currency reserves.

Although the government's borrowings to meet the subsidies have increased, Dr Alam said that the private sector credit growth in January was 13 percent which was 11 percent in January last year.

"On the whole, the domestic credit growth has increased which has helped the economy to make a turnaround. The deficit in the current account balance during this July-January period has also declined to $5 billion from $10 billion in the same period of last year due to the control in import cost or reduction in overall expenditure," he added.

The other projects approved in the meeting are - South-Western Transmission Grid Expansion, 1st revised with an additional cost of Taka 1,048.47 crore, Promoting Gender Responsive Enterprise Development and TVET Systems (ProGRESS) with Taka 128.61 crore, Customs modernization and infrastructure development with Taka 1,686.47 crore, Urban Resilience Project (URP): Project Coordination and Monitoring Unit (PCMU), 3rd revised with a cost cut of Taka 12.44 crore, South Chattogram Regional Development (SCRD) project with Taka 3,644.92 crore, Rural infrastructures development of Mymensingh district with Taka 1,000 crore, Rehabilitation and riverbank protection of Meghna-Dhonagoda Irrigation Project with Taka 347.65 crore.

Ministers and State Ministers attended the meeting while Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present.