The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved a project with an estimated cost of Tk 4,371 crore to restore navigation of four rivers to ensure smooth and safe transportation of water vessels.
The project titled ‘Navigability Development and Reclamation of Old Brahmaputra, Dharla, Tulai and Punorbhoba Rivers’ which approved at ECNEC meeting held at the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area with ECNEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
After the meeting, State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan said at a press conference that a total of 15 projects have been involving an overall estimated cost of Tk 13,218.31 crore.
Of the approved 15 projects, 10 are new while 5 are revised projects, he added.
“Of the total project cost, Tk 8,479.22 crore will come from the government exchequer, Tk 448.43 crore from the organisation’s own fund while the rest of Tk 4,290.66 crore will come from project assistance,” Mannan said.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) will implement the project and the tenure of the project is from September 2018 to June 2024. The prime activities of the project are dredging 227 kilometre of Old Brahmaputra to increase the navigation of the river. The project also aims to increase navigation through capital dredging of 60 kilometre of Dharala, 70 kilometre of Tulai and 80 kilometre of Punvorba River.
The project area covers Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Gaibandha and Dinajpur districts of Rangpur Division, Kishoreganj of Dhaka Division, and Jamalpur, Sherpur and Mymensingh districts of Mymensingh Division.
The minister said these four rivers become dry during the summer season. As a result, all kinds of vehicular movement through these rivers are stopped during this time.
Through capital dredging of these rivers, it will also help crop harvesting at the banks of the rivers.
Besides, the ECNEC has approved the project of the development of Cox’s Bazar Airport, first phase and third phase revised with Tk 2,015.65 crore.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the meeting noted that the Cox’s Bazar Airport will be developed in such a way that wide-body aircraft like Boeing 777 or Airbus 380 could take off and make landing at this airport since it has all the potential of becoming a hub in this region, Mannan said.
The ECNEC has also approved the second revision of the Reaching out of school children (ROSC) Project, second phase with Tk 1,290.36 crore under which the forcibly displaced Rohingya children will be imparted non-formal education in their own language or in English. The project period has been extended till December 2020.
The other projects approved in the meeting are development of Hathazari-Fatikchhari-Manikchhari-Matiranga-Khagrachhari road (R-160), Chattogram portion, with Tk 399.44 crore, construction of Sonahat Bridge over Dudhkumar River on Bhurungumari-Sonahat Landport-Bhitorbondo-Nageshwari Highway with Tk 232.95 crore, construction of Bangladesh Chancery Complex in Berlin with Tk 109.47 crore, construction of Powder Milk factory at Baghabarighat in Sirajganj, first revised with Tk 105.93 crore.
The other projects are — Sustainable Coastal and Marine Fisheries Project with Tk 1,868.86 crore, Embankment works for protecting Rajapur and Purba Elisha union under Sadar thana in Bhola from the erosion of Meghna River, first revised with Tk 343.91 crore, Embankment protection of Halda River and Dhurong canal alongside flood control measures under Fatikchhari and Hathazari upazilas in Chattogram with Tk 156.77 crore, Construction of BFDC Complex with Tk 322.78 crore, Construction of research and training institute on national professional health and security affairs with Tk 165.28 crore, Further Development of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, Gopalganj, First Revised, with Tk 250.56 crore, Small Irrigation Development through using solar power with Tk 82.63 crore and Sustainable Forests and Livelihood (results) project with Tk 1,502.72 crore.