The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved eight projects, including one to construct 16 regional passport office buildings, aiming to improve the passport services in 16 districts, reports UNB.

The approval came from the first ECNEC meeting of the new fiscal year of 2018-‘19, held at the NEC conference room in the city’s Agargaon area with ECNEC chairperson and prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

“Today, the ECNEC approved eight projects with an estimated cost of Tk 64.93 billion,” said planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal while briefing reporters after the meeting.

Of the total cost, Tk 32.79 billion will come from government fund, while Tk 30.34 billion project assistance and the remaining Tk 1.79 billion from the organisations’ own funds.

Of the eight projects, seven are new, while the rest is revised one titled ‘Construction of Padma (Jasholdia) Water Treatment (Phase-1)’ involving Tk 36.70 billion.

About the new passport project involving Tk 870 million, the planning minister said the ‘Construction of 16 Regional Passport Offices Project’ has been taken as part of the decentralising government services.

“We want decentralisation of the services so that people do not need to come to Dhaka for passports.  “We’ve taken the project as part of our efforts to take all the services to the doorsteps of people,” he said.

The project will be implemented by June 2021. 

Under the project, the five-storey buildings will be constructed for the regional passport offices in 16 districts -- Bandarban, Khagrachhari, Narail, Chuadanga, Meherpur, Natore, Joypurhat, Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh, Sherpur and Sylhet. 

Now, there are 67 regional passport offices across the country. Multi-storey buildings have already been constructed for 34 regional passport offices under different projects and now the construction of buildings for 17 other regional passport offices is going on.

So, the project has been taken to construct buildings for the remaining 16 regional passport offices, the minister said.

The six other new projects approved at the meeting include Construction of Community Centres under Dhaka South City Corporation Project with the estimated cost of Tk 2.69 billion; Construction of 132/33/11KV Underground Grid Substation at Gulshan in Dhaka with Tk 9.51 billion and Acquisition and Development of Lands for Setting up 100MW Solar Power Plant at Mollahat (Bagerhat) Project with Tk 821 million.

The rest two projects are Establishment of Institutes of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) in Mymensingh and Institute of Nuclear Medical Physics (INMP) in Chittagong and Cyclotron Facilities in Savar Project spending Tk 6.73 billion and the Sonaimuri-Senbagh-Kalyandi-Chonderhat-Basurhat Roads Development with Tk 2.41 billion.