Ecnec approves Tk 7,189cr Cumilla-Brahmanbaria 4-lane highway project
Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday cleared six development projects, including the Tk 7,189 crore project to upgrade Cumilla-Brahmanbaria National Highway to four lanes. The highway from Mainamati of Cumilla to Dharkhar of Brahmanbaria will be upgraded into a four-lane one, with separate lanes for slow vehicles on both sides, by June 2026. The project aims to establish fast, safe and cost-effective road connectivity between Sylhet and Chattogram regions. The approval came from the Ecnec meeting presided over by its chair and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who joined the event through a virtual platform from her official residence Ganobhaban. Also read: Ecnec postpones Tk 236-crore project of Teletalk to save dollars “The total estimated cost of the six approved projects is some Tk 8,739.68 crore (only additional costs of three revised projects were included),” Planning Minister MA Mannan said at a press briefing after the meeting was held at the NEC Conference Room. Of the total cost, Tk 5,929.03 crore will be drawn from the government’s fund, while the rest Tk 2,810.65 crore will come as foreign loan, he said. According to the Planning Commission, the project titled ‘Upgrading Cumilla (Mainamati)-Brahmanbaria (Dharkhar) National Highway into Four Lanes’ will be executed at the cost of Tk 7,188.66 crore. Also read: Metro Rail (MRT Line-6) project cost goes up by Tk 11,486 cr; Gets Ecnec nod The government will finance Tk 4,378 crore and the rest Tk 2,810.65 crore will come from the Indian Line of Credit (LoC). The major project operations are acquisition of 103 hectares of lands, construction of 14 bridges (with total length of 1,218.44 meters), one 1,030-meter flyover, two underpasses, 50 culverts, 12 foot-over bridges, 50-km flexible pavement and 4.5-km rigid pavement.
Ecnec postpones Tk 236-crore project of Teletalk to save dollars
The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday suspended a Tk 236-crore project of Teletalk on commercial introduction of 5-G services in the capital as a part of the government's austerity measures amid the global crisis. But the Ecnec approved seven other development projects with the estimated cost of Tk 2,007.57 crore (only additional costs of the three revised projects were counted here). The approval came from the Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room. Prime Minister and Ecnec chair Sheikh Hasina joining it through a virtual platform from her official residence Ganobhaban. Also read: PM: BNP plundered national resources during its rule "Today's meeting approved seven projects, but postponed a fresh project of Teletalk," said Planning Minister MA Mannan while briefing reporters. He said the Teletalk project was postponed as it would cost dollars from the country's reserve of foreign currencies but it is so much essential right now. The minister said the project was not cancelled. It will be implemented later, he added. The new project titled " Commercial Introduction of 5-G technology in the Teletalk Network in Dhaka Metropolitan area" involving Tk 236.54 crore was designed to implement by December 2023. The main objectives of the project include to introduce 5-G technology commercially, to raise interest among the people over 5-G technology, and encourage other mobile phone operators to introduce 5-G services. The largest project among four fresh ones approved in the meeting is "Land Acquisition, providing compensation to the victims and their rehabilitation in order to establish the divisional headquarters for Mymensigh Division Project" with the cost of Tk 1,224.81 crore. Also read: PM urges the youth to acquire skills to become entrepreneurs Three other new projects are "Strengthening research activities of Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA)" with the estimated cost of Tk 164.01 crore; "Procurement of Equipment and Machineries from Belarus for Selected Municipalities and City Corporations" with Tk 150.62 crore; and "Extension and Modernisation of Dhaka Central Drug Addiction Treatment Centre" with Tk 162.34 crore. The three revised projects are Rehabilitation of 67A, 67, 67B and 68 polders along the Naf River in Ukhia and Teknaf Upazilas to improve the border security on Bangladesh- Myanmar Border (first revised) project" with additional cost of Tk 227.02 crore (Now the cost raised to Tk 368.67 crore); Uttara Lake Development (1st revised) Project with additional cost of Tk 53.41 crore (now cost is Tk 90.74); and Jail Training Centre, Rajshahi (1st revised) project with additional cost of Tk 25.36 crore (now cost is Tk 98.78.crore).
Religious affairs ministry to launch Tk25 crore programme to promote communal harmony
The Ministry of Religious Affairs is set to launch a comprehensive programme to promote communal harmony in the country. The year-long outreach project will cost Tk25 crore and be implemented by media and ICT consultant organisations. The implementing organisations will distribute leaflets, posters, and newsletters containing messages of religious harmony among people of different beliefs. They will also create advertisements and audio-visual content. Bangladhol Limited and REVE Systems recently signed an agreement with the religious affairs ministry to implement the project as media and ICT consultants. Read: Communicate anti-terrorism, anti-militancy messages through local mosque: religious affairs ministry State Minister for Religious Affairs Faridul Haque Khan and Religious Affairs Secretary Kazi Enamul Hasan were presented at the agreement signing ceremony.
Cost of various projects to be revised, LGRD minister tells JS
LGRD minister Tajul Islam on Monday said the government will revise the cost of various projects considering the rising cost of construction materials including rod.He said this in parliament Monday, replying to a supplementary question from independent lawmaker Rezaul Karim.The minister informed the House that this will be done within the next one week to 10 days.“In that case the contractors will be interested to carry out works of different projects,” he said.In the supplementary question, Rezaul Karim said, MPs have received a special allocation of Tk 20 crore. But development works remained stalled due to increasing price of rod. Also read: Cumilla city polls will be free, fair, and acceptable: LGRD Minister“The contractors are not working,” he added.He wants to know what alternative measures will be taken to break the stalemate.In response, the local government minister said prices of almost all commodities had risen worldwide due to two years of coronavirus infection and the ensuing Russia-Ukraine war.“Inflation in Bangladesh is much better than in the rest of the world. Even then the prices of construction materials including rods have gone up,” he said.The minister said he had raised the issue before the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a recent meeting. Also read: LGRD Minister calls for differentiated pricing of water for rich and poor“The Prime Minister has given instructions. According to that instruction, local government engineers following discussion with the officials of the finance ministry have taken initiative to re-fix the cost of different projects,” he added.In this case, Tajul Islam said that the contractors will be interested in working following extension of the project estimate.
USAID launches $20mn project to protect critical forests, wetland areas in Bangladesh
A new $20 million ecosystems project has been launched to protect critical forests and wetland areas in Bangladesh from degradation. Planning Minister MA Mannan and USAID Deputy Administrator for Policy and Programming Isobel Coleman jointly launched the new five-year project. The launching ceremony was held in a city hotel on Tuesday afternoon. Also read:USAID Deputy Administrator Coleman in Bangladesh USAID Mission Director Kathryn Stevens also joined to launch the new project along with other senior government officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock; and the Ministry of Land, including the Department of Fisheries, Department of Environment, and the Bangladesh Forest Department. The project will bring together government agencies and local communities to protect critical ecosystems, and build resilience to climate change impacts in the Sundarbans Reserve Forest in Khulna, and forests and wetland ecosystems in Sylhet. The project targets two key areas, including the Sundarbans mangrove forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the Royal Bengal tiger, and forest and freshwater wetland ecosystems of the Sylhet border region in northeastern Bangladesh. The project will also help communities build long term climate resilience by adopting climate-smart agriculture approaches and learning business skills to diversify and increase their incomes, moving away from reliance on natural resources from forests for their livelihoods. The new “Protibesh” programme builds on a long-standing partnership between USAID, the government of Bangladesh (GoB) and local community leaders to protect and sustainably manage the country's biologically rich landscapes and ecosystems. Also read: USAID launches $5 mn project to empower women in RMG factories Applying lessons learned from previous interventions to strengthen environmental governance and sustainable forest and wetland management, “Protibesh” will be locally led by community members and GoB counterparts, including the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Ministry of Land, and the Bangladesh Forest Department. As a result of “Protibesh” conservation, and climate adaptation and mitigation activities, Bangladesh will be able to combat the effects of climate change, protect the country's critical natural resources a rich source of life and livelihoods for the people of Bangladesh and build resilience to climate induced natural disasters, said the USAID. Over the past 25 years, USAID has worked closely with Bangladesh to combat climate change and strengthen environmental conservation. Over this period, USAID has worked with local communities and government of Bangladesh officials to protect more than 2.5 million acres of wetlands and forest areas. With Bangladesh among USAID target countries in USAID's Climate Strategy, USAID is working to substantially reduce carbon emissions and help countries adapt to the climate crisis.
PM to unveil foundation stone of Ghorashal Urea Fertilizer Project Thursday
The Prime Minister will unveil the foundation stone of Ghorashal Palash Urea Fertilizer Project in Narsingdi district on Thursday. The unveiling ceremony will be held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) and the PM will join it from her official residence Ganobhaban through a videoconference. Besides, she will inaugurate the newly constructed 14-storey head office Bhaban of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) in the city’s Tejgaon industrial area from the same function. She will also open three other development projects in three separate places, including Expansion of Madaripur BSCIC Industrial Estate. Two other projects are ‘Establishment of Tools Institute’ under Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Center (BITAC), and Establishment of LED light Assembling Plant under the Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation (BSEC). READ: PM wonders why some parties want to oust her government despite massive development works The Tk 10,461-crore Ghorashal Urea Fertilizer project got nods of the Executive Meeting of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) in October, 2018 to set up a new urea factory with an annual production capacity of 9.24 lakh metric tons. Currently, two factories there -- Ghorshal Urea Fertiliser factory and Palash Urea Fertiliser Factory are annually producing 3.15 lakh metric tons. Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) is implementing the project to set up a granular urea factory at Palash, adjacent to the existing two factories, with a daily production capacity of 2,800 metric tons. Of the project cost, Tk 1,844.19 crore will come from the government fund while the rest Tk 8,616.72 crore from bidders. BSCIC Bhaban: The 14-storey eco-friendly skyscraper for BSCIC Head Office was constructed at the cost of Tk 84 crore in order to ensure a better work environment and bring dynamism in the operation of the corporation. The 126,900-sq feet multi-storied building will house the BSCIC head office, regional office and project offices. Solar system and rainwater harvesting system are there in the modern tower, said a BSCIC press release.
Iconic Purbachal CBD project launched
The iconic Purbachal Central Business District (CBD) project has been officially launched at the Bangladesh Economic Forum 2022 in Dubai. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Private Industries and Investment advisor to the Prime Minister Salman F Rahman, and Chairman of the Private Office of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Faisal Al Qassimi, Thomasz Zaleski were present at the event held at an upscale Dubai hotel on Thursday. Sikder Group has conceptualised the development of the high-end integrated real estate project in the new town of Purbachal having all modern amenities and cutting-edge technologies. This project is directly aligned with the Prime Minister’s dream of establishing Bangladesh as a ‘globally integrated regional economic and commercial hub’. This mega CBD project site is spread across a 114-acre land parcel in Purbachal New Town. PowerPac Holdings Ltd, a concern of the Sikder Group, will develop the CBD. READ: Top officials of Sikder Group, Bashundhara Group visit CBD project at Purbachal The key attraction of this project would be its iconic tri-towers -- Language Tower, Liberation Tower and Legacy Tower. These tri-towers would host high-end real estate space catering to the need of global corporations and the upmarket demand of local and non-resident Bangladeshis. Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (Rajuk) awarded the CBD contract to the consortium of PowerPac Holdings Limited (subsidiary of Sikder Group) and Kajima Corporation (Japanese conglomerate). Purbachal CBD is poised to shape up as a global business hub with all world-class facilities, including sophisticated business centre, commercial spaces, retail shops, luxurious apartments, convention centre, hospital, international school and all other necessary community facilities to modernise Dhaka’s skyline on the allocated land in Purbachal. READ: UAE, Philippines to investment in CBD project at Purbachal new town With this official launching, the project will have a significant impact in its ongoing development activities, the PowerPac Holdings said in a release.
Will the much-awaited Khanjahan Ali Airport in Khulna ever see the light of the day?
The opening of the much-anticipated Padma Multipurpose Bridge in June this year will spur a series of development projects, including Khulna-Mongla railway line and the economic zones in the region. Hundreds of crores of taka are being invested around these projects. If the projects are implemented, the scenario of the southern region will be changed. However, the prospect of an early implementation of Khanjahan Ali Airport in Khulna remains bleak. The people of the district are unlikely to get the benefits of having an airport soon as the work of under-construction Khan Jahan Ali Airport is going on at a very slow pace. READ: Parliamentary body visits Cox’s Bazar Airport project Although land has been acquired for the airport several times, no one can say when the main work will start. In 2015, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the airport project, with an estimated cost of about Tk 544.75 crore. The construction work of the airport was first planned to be completed by June 2018. But unfortunately, the main work of the airport has not started yet. Wishing anonymity, an official of the Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority (CAAB) said the reason behind the delay is uncertainty about the source of finance. Firstly, it was planned that the airport would be built on the basis of public-private partnership (PPP). As it did not happen, it was later decided to implement the project through the revenue sector. But it is not being implemented for unknown reasons. When contacted, Tushar Rajbangshi, the supervising engineer of Khanjahan Ali Airport construction project, said, "I am a field engineer, doing whatever work comes to me." Now I am overseeing the work of the boundary wall. "I can't say anything about why the main construction work is yet to begin," he said. READ: Dhaka airport's 3rd terminal to 'boost' trade Land acquisition was completed in June 2020. Since then, no significant progress in the project work was made. There is currently no project manager for this site, he added '. Actually, the need for an airport in Khulna has been under discussion since the sixties. During the Pakistan period in 1961, a site was selected for the construction of an airport at Mashiali in Fultala, 16 km from the main city of Khulna. In 1968, the decision was reversed and land was acquired at Teligati area of Bill Dakatia. The decision was cancelled again and a land was selected in Katakhali of Fakirahat upazila of Bagerhat district in the eighties. At last, the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia laid the foundation stone of Rampal Khanjahan Ali Airport in Bagerhat acquiring 96 acres of land in 1996. Initially, various works including filling of soil for completion of stallport were also completed. In 2011, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced the construction of the airport as a full-fledged one named ‘Khan Jahan Ali Airport’. Following the announcement, another 536 acres of land was acquired with an estimated cost of about Tk 544 crore. According to the project, it was to be completed by 2018 in a joint venture of domestic and foreign. But in reality, nothing happened except hanging a signboard at the airport site and the border wall. Khulna city mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleq, a former MP from Rampal-Mongla constituency, said "We hope that Khan Jahan Ali Airport will be an international standard airport." This airport is a priority project of the prime minister. The government is trying to implement the project in public-private partnership (PPP). Otherwise, it will be built with local funds like Padma Bridge, he added.
NSDA executive chairman visits Chevron’s Uttoron project in Sylhet, Habiganj
Executive Chairman of National Skills Development Authority (NSDA) Dulal Krishna Saha, and Director General, Non-Governmental Organization Affairs Bureau (NGOAB) K.M.Tariqul Islam, recently visited Uttoron project in Sylhet and Habiganj. The project is funded by Chevron and implemented by Swisscontact Bangladesh.Uttoron Skills for better life is a three-year project providing vocational training to 2000 youth in Dhaka and Sylhet division, said a press release. Also read: Bangladesh hunts talents for WorldSkills Shanghai 2022During the visit, the officials met the trainers and the trainees. Trainees shared their experiences and their aspiration with the officials.The NSDA Executive Chairman and the NGOAB DG appreciated the quality of training and the innovative ideas Uttoron is implementing to build a better workforce for Bangladesh. Also read: BYLC to instill leadership skills in 3,000 youthsThe project has introduced a new trade Packaging and Finishing Operation to meet the demand of the packaging industry first time in Bangladesh. The Prime Minister’s office has already approved the trade.
Waste-to-energy: Bangladesh’s two dream projects face speed bumps
As city authorities are struggling to catch up with the growing waste management problem, the government is trying to handle it shifting its focus on waste-to-energy projects, but the projects taken so far failed to make any breakthrough. Two much-sought waste-to-energy projects – one in Dhaka and another in Narayanganj – could not start the ground work even after getting the approval from the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase a year ago. Dhaka, the national capital that generates some 6,000 tons of garbage every day, is expected to see a sea change in garbage disposal once the proposed waste-to-energy plant at Aminbazar could be implemented. Also read: Cabinet purchase body nods 42.5MW waste to energy power project The 42.5MW Aminbazar project, aimed at using the garbage of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), got the clearance from the committee on November 12, 2020 while the 6MW plant received its nod on September 16, 2020 to be set up at Jalkuri, Narayanganj.