Prime minister Sheikh Hasina unveils a book on Bangladesh advancement report 2020 while chairing the ECNEC meeting from her official Gonobhaban residence through video conferencing on 25 August 2020
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina unveils a book on Bangladesh advancement report 2020 while chairing the ECNEC meeting from her official Gonobhaban residence through video conferencing on 25 August 2020PID

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved over Tk 14.54 billion project to ensure standard and uninterrupted power supply for the clients of Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) alongside creating infrastructures for giving additional 115,000 power connections.

The approval came from an ECNEC meeting with its chairperson and prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

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

Briefing the newsmen after the meeting, planning minister MA Mannan said that a total of five projects were approved today involving an overall estimated cost of Tk 2,570.15 crore.

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“Of the total project cost, Tk 1,485.13 crore will come from the government, Tk 82.60 crore from the concerned organisation’s own fund while the rest Tk 1,002.42 crore as project assistance and grant,” he added.

The planning minister said consultancy services, vehicles, foreign trips and training are needed for project implementation as those could not be denied

Of the approved five projects, three are new while two are revised projects.

The planning minister said DPDC under the Power Division will implement the project to establish substations and their rehabilitation, to install capacitor bank at power system and to introduce smart grid system under the DPDC areas by June 2023.

He further said the government has almost ensured cent per cent power connections in the country while target is there to ensure cent per cent electricity by this year.

“Now our aim is to ensure improvement and strengthening of the power system. We want to provide uninterrupted power supply,” he said.

The planning minister said that the government is working hard to develop inclusive power system for all through enhancing capacity.

The main project operations include establishment of two new 132/33KV substations and four 33/11 KV substations, renovation and augmentation of three existing substations, replacing five 33 KV AIS substations with 33 KV GIS substations, introducing smart grid system on pilot basis at DPDC areas and construction of 15 substation buildings.

Planning commission member Pradip Ranjan Chakrabarty said that the project also aims to create necessary infrastructures for providing electricity connections to some 115,000 clients at the DPDC areas in Dhaka and Narayanganj. The existing power system would be upgraded side by side.

He informed that capacitor bank will be installed for which the BPDB would not have to incur any loss. Besides, the power factor will be raised under the project.

Answering to a question on the project, Mannan said that the government would not spend any money illogically. “Rather we’ll spend more money logically, because if we reduce spending money, the economy will collapse. But we will have to ensure that the spending is utilised properly and there is no misuse.”

He said the government has to ensure that the project implementation gets its desired pace side by side there is no misuse of fund.

The planning minister said consultancy services, vehicles, foreign trips and trainings are needed for project implementation as those could not be denied.

But, he said, the executing agencies would have to ensure that the foreign trips and training do not become pleasure trips.

Mannan said giving approval to a project dies not mean that it is like giving a blank cheque, rather the planning ministry always have constant communication with the executing agencies, ministries, line ministers and secretaries. “We won’t make interference, rather we will have constant communication with the concerned stakeholders (for swift project implementation).”

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The minister said that prime minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the authorities concerned to create a special fund to give financial support or loan support to the affected cinemas owners to restart those.

He said many cinemas across the country have now been abandoned while many cinema owners have transformed their cinemas into malls or other establishments.

“Besides, new films are not coming. Under the circumstances, the cinema owners will get loan support if they wish (for reopening). The government will extend necessary support to them,” he added.

Referring to the approval of the extension of artificial breeding operations and implementation of foetus transfer technology, 3rd phase, 1st revised, with an additional cost of Tk 206.30 crore, Mannan said the prime minister stressed the need for conducting more researches on artificial breeding of animals.

He said that the prime minister had noted that there is a need for consuming more animal protein and for exporting meat.

While giving approval to the Establishment of Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Center (11 Centres) to be implemented by the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority under the ICT Division with around Tk 799 crore, the minister said the PM asked the authorities concerned to develop a mechanism to give social and institutional recognition to the countrywide freelancers who are doing a good job and also earning their livelihood.

She also suggested the ICT Division to make necessary arrangements for providing training to the youths on various languages like Chinese, Japanese, French and Spanish by the ICT training centres.

The two other projects approved in the meeting are Buffalo research and development with Tk 63.17 crore and strengthening publicity operations towards improving the rural communities, 1st revised, with an additional cost of Tk 47.73 crore.