Prime minister Sheikh Hasina chairs the ECNEC meeting virtually from her official Gonobhaban residence, Dhaka on 6 October 2020
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina chairs the ECNEC meeting virtually from her official Gonobhaban residence, Dhaka on 6 October 2020PID

The government has approved four projects involving over Tk. 16.59 billion including the first revision of the multi sector project to address Rohingya crisis on an emergency basis with an additional cost of Tk. 9.3 billion to ensure various facilities for the forcibly displaced Rohingyas and also for the host communities in Cox’s Bazar.

The approval came from a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council held today (Tuesday) with ECNEC chairperson and prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

The prime minister joined the meeting virtually from her official Gonobhaban residence while the concerned ministers, state ministers and secretaries joined the meeting from the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.

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Of the approved four projects, one is new while three others are revised projects.

“Out of the total project cost of Tk. 1,659.34 crore, Tk. 740.14 crore will come from the government fund while the rest of Tk. 919.20 crore will come as a grant,” planning minister MA Mannan told newsmen after the meeting.

The planning minister said prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the meeting noted that due to the influx of the Rohingyas from Myanmar, there has been a negative impact on the local communities in Cox’s Bazar which needs to be addressed properly

Planning commission member Md Zakir Hossain Akand said the local government and engineering department (LGRD) and the public health and engineering department (DPHE) will jointly implement the project by June 2024 at eight upazilas of Cox’s Bazar namely Ukhiya, Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar sadar, Ramu, Chakoria, Maheshkhali, Kutubdia and Pekua.

He further said the main project objectives include mitigating the risk of losses from natural disasters, improving the system of rendering social services, improving safe water and health system, reducing the risk of losses from fire incidents, creating better facilities for education and thus resisting the forcibly displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar from gender-based pressure and strengthening various measures in this regard.

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Zakir informed that although the World Bank and KfW Development Bank were not interested to provide the grant amount initially for this project, later they were convinced and decided to provide an amount of Tk. 919.20 crore as grant due to various environmental pollution, damage of sources of water, croplands and forests by the Rohingyas.

Referring to the approval of the 1st revision of the development of physical infrastructures of Jatiya Kobi Kazi Nazrul Islam University with an additional cost of Tk. 349.22 crore, the planning minister said prime minister Sheikh Hasina has noted that the universities should not run like markets or cities due to overcrowding of students

The main project operations include construction of 50 cyclone shelters, 222.97 kilometres of road development, 371 metres of bridge construction and 467.50 metres of culvert construction, construction of 34 multipurpose community centres, 42.15 kilometres of road widening and maintenance, construction of 90 community latrines, instalment of 2,500 water options, instalment of 14,800 toilets at homes alongside renovating existing toilets and setting up some 2,500 biofill toilets at homes in the project areas.

The planning minister said prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the meeting noted that due to the influx of the Rohingyas from Myanmar, there has been a negative impact on the local communities in Cox’s Bazar which needs to be addressed properly.

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The meeting also approved a fresh project titled ‘Creating employments and eradicating poverty through expanding the operations of BITAC’ by giving importance on technical training of women at a cost of Tk. 123.17 crore.

Bangladesh Industrial and Technical Assistance Centre (BITAC) under the industries ministry will implement the project by June 2025 at five districts -- Dhaka, Chandpur, Chattogram, Khulna and Bogura.

The main project operations include building a 10-storey male hostel at the BITAC Dhaka centre, upward extension of the existing female hostel at the BITAC Dhaka centre, giving training to some 15,000 males and females in various trade.

Referring to the approval of the 1st revision of the development of physical infrastructures of Jatiya Kobi Kazi Nazrul Islam University with an additional cost of Tk. 349.22 crore, the planning minister said prime minister Sheikh Hasina has noted that the universities should not run like markets or cities due to overcrowding of students.

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Mannan said the prime minister put emphasis on functioning of universities as educational institutions as well as carrying out more researches. There is no fund crisis in this regard, he added.

The other project approved in the meeting is the 2nd revision of Rehabilitation of Polder No. 62 (Patenga), Polder No. 63/1A (Anwara), Polder. No 63/1B (Anwara/Patia) at coastal areas in Chattogram with an additional cost of Tk. 256.94 crore.