ECNEC passes second highest number of projects involving Tk 526.12b

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chairs the ECNEC meeting

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved 37 projects, the second highest number of projects passed from a meeting, involving over Tk 526.12 billion.

A total of 44 projects were submitted in the meeting. Seven of them were rejected.

Earlier, a record 38 projects were approved from one meeting of the ECNEC before the 11th parliamentary elections in 2018.

Influential cabinet members, MPs and secretaries are securing the project approval for their own areas just before the parliamentary election.

Planning Minister MA Mannan and State Minister for Planning Shamsul Alam spoke to the media about the projects after the meeting.

The planning minister was asked why so many projects are being passed when the tenure of the government is nearing its end. The minister said, “If I had the power I would have passed more projects. I would be happier passing more projects.”

Speaking about the matter, planning division secretary Satyajit Karmaker said, “We pass the projects after checking them carefully. We do not pass any project hastily. No election-centric project is passed.”

News agency BSS adds: The ECNEC approved a Tk 107.97 billion project for transforming the Chattogram-Dohazari metre gauge railway track into dual gauge in a bid to ensure safe, fast and uninterrupted rail communication in that region.

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, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that the day’s meeting approved a total of 37 projects involving an overall estimated cost of Tk 526.12 billion.

“Of the total project cost, nearly Tk 215.47 billion will come from the government of Bangladesh portion, Tk 14.97 billion from the concerned organisation’s own fund while the rest of Tk 295.68 billion as project assistance,” he added.

State Minister for Planning Shamsul Alam, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present at the briefing.

Bangladesh Railway under the Ministry of Railways will implement the transformation of Chattogram-Dohazari metre gauge rail line into dual gauge by June 2028 with Tk 70.86 billion loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The project aims to ensure safe, fast and uninterrupted rail communication between the tourism city Cox’s Bazar with Chattogram.
The main project operations include transformation of 80.76 kilometre track into dual gauge, installing computer based interlocking signal and interlocking, reconstruction of three station buildings and renovation of 14 station buildings, reconstruction of 20 major bridges and 68 minor bridges, three rail overpasses, procurement of 30 metre gauge diesel electric locomotives.

The other projects approved in the meeting are: Rejuvenating River Ichamati under Pabna district with Tk 15.55 billion; River Jamuna sustainable management project-1: riverbank protection and river training (component-1) with Tk 8.73 billion; Protecting Talbaria area under Mirpur upazila and Komorkandi area under Shilaidah union of Kumarkhali upazila of Kushtia district from the erosion of River Padma with Tk 14.72 billion; Producing safe vegetables, fruits and flowers through water-efficient irrigation technology and building Polyshed with Tk 2.1 billion; Rangpur division agriculture and rural development, 1st revised, with an additional cost of Tk 787 million, and Local government initiative on climate change (LOGIC), 2nd revised, with an additional cost of Tk 1.1 billion.

The projects also involved Sylhet division rural access road development, 3rd revised, with an additional cost of Tk 209.1 million; Rural infrastructural development of Naogaon district with Tk 11 billion; Rural infrastructural development of Magura district with Tk 4.9 billion; Rural infrastructural development of Joypurhat district with Tk nearly 5 billion; Establishment of multimedia classrooms at 653 madrasahs of the country, 3rd revised, with an additional cost of Tk 13.7 million; Enhancing capacity of Bangladesh Public Service Commission Secretariat including establishment of seven regional offices, 2nd revised, with an additional cost of Tk 110 million; National Academy for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (NAAND), 3rd revised, with an additional cost of Tk 3.08 billion; Learning Acceleration in Secondary Education (LAISE) with Tk 33.04 billion; Ensuring offsite water supply facilities at Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant with about Tk 2.42 billion; Establishment of BSTI regional offices in 10 districts with Tk 4.33 billion; Installation of Smart Prepaid gas metres, SCADA & GIS at PGCL Franchise Area with Tk 6.81 billion; Gas Sector Efficiency Improvement & Carbon Abatement project (Installation of Smart Prepaid Gas Metre for TGTDCL) with Tk 35.43 billion; Smart Metering Energy Efficiency Improvement Project (Installation of Prepaid Gas Meter for TGTDCL) with Tk 21.14 billion.

The remaining projects approved in the meeting are: Installation of Single Point Mooring (SPM) with double pipe line, 4th revised, with an additional cost of Tk 11.74 billion; Bogura-Rangpur-Syedpur gas transmission pipeline erection project, 1st revised, with an additional cost of about Tk 1.12 billion; Construction of bridge over Meghna-Dhonagoda river on Uttar Gozaria road in Matlab with Tk 41.75 billion; Construction of Mirganj Bridge over River Arial Kha on the 8th kilometre of Rahmatpur-Babuganj-Muladi-Hijla highway with Tk 14.43 billion; Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar highway improvement project with Tk 85.56 billion; Upgrading Karnaphuli Tunnel including Anwara Upazila connecting road into four-lane, 1st revised, with an additional cost of Tk 746.8 million; Upgrading Chaturi (Choumuhuni)-CUFL-Karnaphuli Drydock (Marine Academy)-Fakirnirhat (N-121) national highway into due standard and width with Tk 5.84 billion; River Jamuna sustainable management project-1 (navigational channel development) with Tk 6.2 billion; Procuring vessels for enhancing the capacity of Bangladesh Coast Guard with Tk 23.15 billion; Expanding the operations of ambulance services of Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defense (phase-2) with Tk 977.8 million; Constructing multipurpose building at Officers’ Club, Dhaka, 1st revised, with an additional cost of Tk 1.95 billion; Constructing rail line from Khulna to Mongla Port with a reduced cost of Tk 351.8 million;  Construction of dual gauge single line on Joydevpur-Ishwardi Section, engineering services related technical assistance with about Tk 1.67 billion; Road development from Rayer Bazar sluice gate to steel bridge with Tk 9.75 billion; Amin Bazar Landfill extension and modernisation, 1st revised, with an additional cost of Tk 4.86 billion; Strengthening regulatory system for vaccine, diagnostic and therapeutics with Tk 6.13 billion and Establishment of Essential Biotech and Research Center, Gopalganj with Tk 31.24 billion.

At the very outset of the ECNEC meeting, the planning minister handed over a 124-page publication of the Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) titled “15 years of Success: 2009-2023” to the Prime Minister.