The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved a Tk 319-crore project to improve road safety, including traffic infrastructure development in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC).
The approval came from the 13th Ecnec meeting of the current fiscal year, held virtually with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The Prime Minister joined the meeting from Ganobhaban through a videoconference, while other Ecnec members were connected from NEC Bhaban.
The meeting approved a total of three projects, including the DNCC one.
“Three projects of two ministries were approved at today’s meeting. The total estimated cost of the projects is Tk 5,189.69 crore (only additional costs of the revised projects were counted here),” Planning Division Secretary Md Ashadul Islam said while briefing reporters after the meeting.
Among these, two are revised projects and the rest one is a fresh scheme, he said.
Of the cost, Tk 2918.93 crore will be financed from government funds, while the rest of Tk 2,270.76 will come as project assistance.
Talking about the project titled ‘Road Safety including Improvement of Traffic Infrastructures in Dhaka North City Corporation Area,’ Member of the Planning Commission Md Mamun-Al-Rashid said the DNCC will implement the project by June 2023 at a cost of Tk 319.23 crore.
The main objectives of the project include easing the movement of people and traffic, reducing traffic congestions and enhancing safety by developing the city streets in a planned way as well as construction of footbridges, development of the existing footbridges, installing escalators at the footbridges to ensure the safe movement of pedestrians.
The major project operations include development of 13.68-km road, construction of 9.05-km roadside drainage and 6.58-km pipe drainage, development of 26.58-km footpath, 7.74-km road median, installation of 22.77-km MS grill fencing, 22.31-km SS grill fencing and 1710 traffic signs, construction of 50 passenger camps (Jatri Chowni) and 36 new footbridges, development of 47 footbridges, and installation of 17 escalators at footbridges.
Ashadul Islam said though it was proposed that the DNCC will share Tk 63.85 crore of the project cost, but the Prime Minister directed to finance the project fully from government funds.
During discussions over the project, the Prime Minister asked local government bodies, including city corporations, to enhance their financial capacity gradually to executive such development projects with their own resources in the future.
Ecnec also cleared the first revision of 'SASEC Road Link Project-II: Elenga-Hatikamrul-Rangpur Highway Four-Lane Upgradation' project increasing the cost by Tk 4763.37 crore and extending the timeline till December 2024 instead of August 2021.
The cost has now increased to Tk 16,662.38 crore from Tk 11,899.01 crore in the original project which was scheduled to be implemented from September 2015 to August 2021.
Talking about the reasons behind the rise in the project cost, Mamun-Al-Rashid said it has been increased mainly for land acquisition as the compensation against land value was made three times in the Acquisition and Requisition of Immovable Property Act, 2017 compared to the existing local market price.
The cost against the land acquisition sees a rise by Tk 2,253.16 crore and that against the resettlement by Tk 226.70 crore.
Besides, Ecnec endorsed the 2nd revision of Development of Sonapur (Noakhali)-Sonagazi(Feni)-Zorargonj (Chattogram) Road Project, increasing the cost by Tk 107.09 core and extending the timeline till June 2021.
The project cost has gone up to Tk 293.05 crore from Tk 185.96 crore in the first revised one and Tk 172.65 crore in the original project.
According to the original project, it was supposed to be executed from June 2015 to June 2018.
Mamun said the project cost has been raised also mainly for the rise in compensations against land acquisition.
About the PM’s directives issued at the Ecnec meeting, the Planning Division senior secretary said the Prime Minister asked the authorities concerned to be careful during the construction of any road so that water flow does not get hampered.
Describing water bodies as the ‘lifeline,’ the PM said the water bodies, particularly beels and haors, have to be saved as these protect the groundwater and the balance of nature.
Noting that the legal complexities cause the delay in implementation of development project in some cases, she asked the ministries concerned to take prompt measures to dispose of such cases, if any.
Hasina said if any project official is transferred before its completion, the new officer should get an orientation over the project so that its implementation is not hampered.