Ecnec gives go-ahead to 4 projects

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved four projects involving Tk 1,668.29 crore including a new scheme for modernizing three airports by ensuring safe flight and improving quality service.

The project titled “Asphalt development on runway surfaces at Jashore, Saidpur and Shah Makhdum (Rajshahi) Airports” involving Tk 566.76 crore has been okayed in order to make airports world-class.

The projects were approved in the meeting on Tuesday held at the NEC Conference Room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area. 

Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting.

The Prime Minister joined the meeting from Gonobhaban through video conferencing while some other Ministers and State Ministers, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned also attended the meeting.

Planning Division Senior Secretary Md Ashadul Islam while briefing reporters after the meeting said, “Four projects of three ministries were approved at today’s meeting. The total estimated cost of the four projects is Tk 1668.29 crore.” 

Of the total cost, some Tk 1,524.78 crore will be financed from the government fund, while the rest Tka 143.51 crore will come from the concerned organization’s own funds, he said.

Among the four approved projects, three projects are fresh while one is a revised project.

Talking about the project titled ‘Asphalt Concrete Overlaying on the Runway Surface of Jashore Airport, Syedpur Airport and Shah Makhdum Airport, Rajshahi’, the senior secretary said the project will be implemented from January 2021 to June 2023 at a cost of Tk 566.76 crore.

Of this, Tk 453.40 crore will be spent from government funds and Tk 113.35 crore from the implementing agency Aviation Authority, he added.

Under the project, the thickness of asphalt concrete overlay on the Jashore airport runway will be 280mm, while it will be 210mm for the Saidpur airport runway and 270mm for the runway of Shah Makhdum Airport in Rajshahi respectively.

Besides, the Airfield Ground Lighting (AGL) system will be upgraded along with the improvement of runway side stripe and drainage system.

The Jashore airport has been in operation as a full-fledged domestic airport over the last 50 years, established during the Second World War, said an official of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism.

At present, the airport handles an average of eight to nine passenger flights a day, he added.

He said, “Its runway is 8,600 ft long and 180 ft wide. The lifespan of the bituminous carpeting came to an end many years ago.”

He mentioned cracks are being developed along with undulations on the surface of the runway over time.

Saidpur airport, another important airport of the country, was built almost four decades ago. At present, about 14 to 15 flights are operated a day from the airport.

The length of the runway is 6,800 feet and its width is 120 feet along with the shoulder.

The pebbles have come off the bituminous carpeting and depression and cracks have developed on the runway due to repeated use of the runway by overloaded aircraft.

On the other hand, the runway of Shah Makhdum Airport is 6,600 feet long and 120 feet wide.

Four passenger aircrafts are operated a day from this airport which was built around three decades ago.

The CAAB has kept the runways operational by only carrying out repairing work.

Such condition of the runways poses risks for aircraft.

However, the project is proposed to conduct ancillary activities including asphalt concrete over-laying on the runways and installation of runway lighting systems on the runways to ensure safe take-off and landing at the three mentioned airports.