Dhaka, April 09: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved the conversion of Akhaura-Sylhet Meter Gauge Section of Bangladesh Railway into dual gauge with an estimated cost of Taka 16,104.44 crore.The approval came from the 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.
Briefing the reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that a total of 7 projects were approved today involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 18,191.38 crore.
“Of the total project cost, Taka 6,622.43 crore will come from the state exchequer while the rest of Taka 11,568.95 crore from project assistance,” he said.
All the approved 7 projects are new projects.
The Planning Minister said the conversion of the Akhaura-Sylhet Section Dual Gauge Conversion project will be implemented by June 2025 with Taka 10,654.36 crore project assistances from China on G to G basis.
Under the project, some 225 kilometer existing meter gauge railway track under the Akhaura-Sylhet section would be converted into 239.14 kilometer dual gauge track.
Besides, the other major project operations includes construction of 49 major and 237 minor bridges, signaling works at 22 stations, construction of 16690 square meter residential buildings, barrack and dormitory, and some 200.30 acres of land acquisition.
According to the Planning Commission, the Akhaura-Sylhet section is very important considering economic aspect, tourism and internal and regional connectivity.
The Planning Minister said that the implementation rate of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) during the July-March period of the current fiscal year reached 47.24 percent with an expenditure of Taka 83,432 crore. The ADP implementation rate during the July-March period of the last fiscal year was 45.65 percent with an expenditure of Taka 71,940 crore.
Mannan said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the meeting has directed the concerned authorities to ensure that the government officials at the field-level remain in their job areas with their families so that they could give utmost concentration in their works.
Besides, she also renewed her directive to keep sufficient open space, veranda and ventilation system, fire extinguishing system and keeping ponds and water bodies nearby before setting up any government establishment, discouraging acquisition of arable land for project purpose, but if needed providing necessary compensation and ensuring rehabilitation of the affected people.
The Prime Minister also stressed the need for continuing River dredging to maintain the navigability of those.
The day’s ECNEC meeting also approved the Indian Economic Zone at Mirsharai project in Chattogram involving Taka 919.85 crore in a bid to attract more Indian investors in the country.
Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) will implement the project by June 2021 with Taka 914.59 crore from the Indian 3rd Line of Credit. The main objectives of the project are to develop off-site infrastructures at the Indian Economic Zone to facilitate Indian investors including attracting the Indian developer companies to invest in Bangladesh.
Besides, steps will be taken to attract the Indian companies to set up their industrial units there through ensuring a business-friendly environment as well as improving the living standards of local people through generating employments and thus ensuring sustainable economic development.
The main project operations include some 152 lakh cubic meter land development, erection of 9-kilometer long pipeline from the Feni River to ensure necessary water supply and drainage system, constructing 10-kilometer long connecting road, establishment of a pump station, a water reservoir, internal linkage, external drainage line construction, construction of 5,000 meter boundary wall, 1680 square meter administrative building, 20603 square feet security shed and installation of optical fiber.
The other approved projects include construction of Chattogram Hill Tracts Regional Parishad Complex Construction Project with Taka 244.31 crore, Expansion of Magura-Sripur district highway including straightening of curves with Taka 215.09 crore, Construction of new office building and auditorium of Khulna Divisional Commissioner with Taka 139.46 crore, Installation of safe and healthy dry fish processing and indoor farming research related facilities at the Dhaka and Chattogram centers of BCSIR with Taka 89 crore.