PM Hasina asks to prepare for probable floods

Prime minister Sheikh HasinaPID file photo

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday asked all concerned, including civil administration, to take necessary preparations in advance to face probable floods in the country.

The prime minister gave the directive while chairing the 1st meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in this fiscal year (FY25) held at the NEC conference room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.

Briefing the newspersons, planning minister major general (retd) Abdus Salam said that based on the forecast of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department and the experts concerned the prime minister in the meeting apprehended that a possible flood may sweep over the country in the coming days possibly in August.

In this regard, she asked all concerned to take necessary preparations to face the possible flood and its impact.

Planning Division senior secretary Satyajit Karmakar said the prime minister had categorically said that there is a possibility of flooding across the country in August since there has been a growing trend of rainfall in the country alongside rising water in the upstream of major rivers.

He said PM Hasina directed all concerned including the civil administration and field administration to take necessary preparations for facing the flood and its impact in order to protect the people of the country from the impacts and devastation of flood.

The planning division senior secretary said that the day's meeting approved a total of 11 projects involving an overall estimated cost of Tk 54.6 billion.

 "Of the total project cost, Tk 52.14 billion will come from the government of Bangladesh portion, Tk 1.40 billion from project assistance while the rest of Tk 1.05 billion as concerned organisation's own fund," he said.

Of the approved 11 projects, seven are fresh projects while four are revised ones, the senior secretary said. State minister for planning Md Shahiduzzaman Sarker, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned attended the meeting.

Revealing a set of directives given by the prime minister in the meeting, the planning minister said the she asked all concerned ministries, divisions and executing agencies to make the necessary paperwork in the first quarter (July-September) of the new fiscal year (FY25) since the monsoon and rainfall during this season often hampers the physical work of projects.

"If the necessary paperwork can be done early, then the main physical work can also be done a bit earlier considering the rainy season," the minister said, quoting the prime minister as saying.

The planning minister said Sheikh Hasina reiterated her emphasis on the appointment and training of the project directors while one project director cannot be in charge of more than one project for the sake of quality work.

Referring to the issue of land acquisition in projects, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to take the issue with utmost importance so that project sites are not made in the densely populated areas side by side development projects are not implemented on triple-cropping lands.

Commenting on the approved project on agricultural development in Dhaka region with Tk 1.45 billion, the prime minister noted that most of the agricultural land surrounding the capital is being used for making houses as a result of urbanisation.

In this regard, she directed the authorities concerned to expedite their efforts to boost agricultural productivity in these surrounding areas of the capital.

Around Tk-16.24-billion project to build administrative-cum-barrack buildings in thanas for Bangladesh Police in various parts of the country, the planning minister said that the infrastructures of some police stations or thanas are dilapidated and the prime minister asked the concerned ministry to bring another project to develop the infrastructures of the rest of the thanas of the country.

Planning Commission member Mohammad Emdad Ullah Miah said that out of the 639 police stations in the country, some 177 police stations have already been developed while some 107 police stations would be developed under this project.

He said the prime minister has given the directive to bring another project for developing the rest of the 355 police stations across the country.

Emdad said nine types of buildings would be built in the police stations considering their locations in the rural and urban areas.

Planning Division senior secretary Satyajit Karmakar said that during the meeting, the prime minister asked all concerned to implement the budget in a more precise manner as well as asked the executing agencies to set their priorities in implementing projects.

He informed that the planning minister would sit with all the secretaries of the concerned ministries and divisions likely on 4 July to ensure smooth implementation of the development projects throughout the year.

Satyajit said the prime minister also directed to conduct an impact study on those projects which were completed at the eleventh hour of the just concluded fiscal year with additional funding.

He also informed the meeting approved the continuity of the operation plan for supporting the Rohingyas in the health sector as the 'Fourth Health Sector Support Programme' ended on 30 June.

The planning minister said they are trying to expedite the implementation of the prospective plan under which Bangladesh would become a prosperous and developed country by 2041 when the per capita income would reach $12,500.

He said that the inter-ministerial coordination of the government has increased a lot over the years while the coordination of the Ministry of Planning with the Ministry of Finance has grown stronger.

Salam said the way the government is now working, one day, the words of 'hunger' and 'poverty' would become a matter of the past.

Asked about the government's stance on changing the fiscal year considering the monsoon, he said although demands were raised for changing it from various quarters, it was not changed. "Hopefully, we'll be able to move on in our desired pace unless there is no such natural disaster,"

The planning minister also said that he would try his level best to identify the weaknesses and barriers in project implementation.

Answering to a question, IMED secretary Abul Kashem Md Mohiuddin said there is no denying the fact that the RADP utilisation during the July-May period of the last fiscal year (FY24) was less (57.54 per cent) as compared to the previous fiscal year (FY23) with 61.73 per cent.

He, however, held responsibility for the high rate schedule, complexities in opening of LCs and disruption in the smooth supply chain as some of the reasons for low RADP implementation.