Dhaka, Oct 23 (UNB) – The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved a total of 21 projects, including one to procure 35 dredgers at a cost of Tk 4,489.03 crore for enhancing the dredging capacity of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) to protect and improve the navigability of river routes across the country.
The approval came from the weekly Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room here with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said, "A total of 21 projects were approved today involving an overall cost of Tk 19,778.73 crore."
Of the total estimated cost, Tk 17,316.93 crore will come from the national exchequer while Tk 2,227.87 crore as project assistance and Tk 233.93 crore from the own funds of the organisations concerned, he said.
Of the 21 approved projects, two are revised ones. The revised projects are ‘Establishment of Three Handloom Services Centres in Different Loom Incentive Areas (2nd revised) Project involving Tk 88.80 crore and Greater Mymensingh Rural Infrastructural Development (2nd revised) Project involving Tk 690 crore.
About the dredger procurement, the minister said the BIWTA will implement the ‘Collection of 35 Dredgers and Relevant Instruments including Auxiliary Water Vessels, and Construction of Necessary Infrastructure’ project by June 2023.
According to the factsheet provided at the briefing, now there are 25 dredgers in the BIWTA fleet and those can dredge some 114 lakh cubic feet annually. If the 35 more dredgers are collected, the dredging capacity of BIWTA will increase to 672.10 lakh cubic feet a year.
With the private dredgers, now the country’s total dredging capacity is some 846.50 lakh cubic feet a year. But the annual demand of dredging for BIWTA is some 1,655.10 lakh cubic feet.
The main objectives of the project is to make inland river routes fit for smooth movement of ferries, launches, cargo vessels and other water vessels by development and protection of the navigability of the river routes through dredging some 100 inland river routes.
Apart from the project, BIWTA will procure 20 other dredgers --10 in 2018 and 10 in 2019 -- to enhance its dredging capacity under an ongoing project.
The 18 other approved projects include Land Acquisition and Utility Transfer Project: Support to Improvement of Dhaka (Kanchpur)-Sylhet-Tamabil Highway into Four-lane and Construction of Separate Service Lanes on Both Sides Project with Tk 3,885.72 crore; 2nd Urban Region Development Project with Tk 1,867 crore; Further Development of Comilla University Project with Tk 1,655.50 crore; Further Development of Jahangirnagar University Project with Tk 1,445.36 crore; and Land Acquisition and Relevant Activities for setting up CPGCBL-Sumitomo 1200-megawatt Ultra Super Critical Coal based Power Plant’ project with Tk 1,270.09 crore.
The projects also include Development of Damaged Roads, Drains and Footpaths of Dhaka South City Corporation’ project with Tk 774.66 crore; Reconstruction of Cumilla Central Jail’ project with 624.98 crore; Dredging of Gorai River and Protection of its Banks project with Tk 591.58 crore; Emergency Assistance for Water Supply and Sanitation in Ukhia and Teknaf upazilas of Cox’s Bazar project with Tk 585.33 crore; Strengthening Teletalk Network Coverage in Remote Areas through Setting up Solar Base Stations Project with Tk 406.18 crore; and Rangpur Division Agriculture and Rural Development project with Tk 321.22 crore.
The remaining projects are Payra 1300-megawatt Thermal Power Plant Link Road and Relevant Infrastructure Construction project with Tk 250.62 crore; Improvement of Keranihat-Bandarban National Highway to the due Standard, Width and Height project with Tk 235.03 crore; Buffalo Development (2nd phase) Project with Tk 162.93 crore; Climate Change Adaptation Urban Development Programme of Barishal City Project with Tk 130.19 crore; Strengthening Capacity of Bangladesh Public Service Commission Secretariat including setting up Seven Regional Offices project with Tk 126.90 crore; Restoration of Char-Bagadi Pump House and Hazimara Regulator of Chandpur Irrigation Project with Tk 117.46 crore; and Modernisation and Infrastructure Extension of Bangladesh Handloom Education and Training Institute, Narsingdi Project with Tk 60.15 crore.