A total of 10 projects were approved and revised during Tuesday’s meeting
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved two separate projects for rural infrastructure development in Gazipur and Tangail districts with a combined estimated cost of Tk1,550.64 crore.
The approval came from the 27th meeting of the Ecnec held in this fiscal year with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The premier joined the meeting from her official Ganabhaban residence while ministers, state ministers, planning commission members, and secretaries concerned joined the meeting from the NEC conference room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that a total of 10 projects were approved on Tuesday involving an overall estimated cost of Tk4,166.61 crore.
"Of the total project cost, Tk4,125.82 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh portion while the rest of Tk40.79 crore as project assistance," he said. Of the approved 10 projects, seven are new while three others are revised projects.
Mannan said the Gazipur district rural infrastructure development project will be implemented with Tk685 crore while the important rural infrastructure development project in Tangail will be implemented with Tk865.64 crore.
The main project operations in Gazipur will be 65.74km upazila road widening and development, 91.03km union road development and widening, 287.12km village road development and widening, and construction of five bridges and two growth centers.
On the other hand, the main project operations in Tangail will be 20.04km upazila road development and widening, 73.33 kilometer Union road development and widening, 597.11km village road development, 147.57km road rehabilitation, construction of 24 small bridges and 26 growth centers.
The planning minister said that Tuesday’s Ecnec meeting also approved Tk261.34 crore project to supply safe water and improving sanitation facilities in rural areas of Gopalganj.
Mannan said he was very much excited about the project as a component of piped water supply has been included in the project.
Terming this project as a "giant step forward" towards materializing the government's initiative of turning villages into towns, he said that the government wants to ensure power, safe drinking water, improved health, sanitation, education, and other infrastructures at the rural level.
"This is a historic step and it has a farsighted impact on poverty alleviation," he added.
The planning minister also informed that such kinds of projects would be brought before the Ecnec in future giving priority.
Highlighting some of the directives from the premier in the meeting, Mannan said the prime minister stressed again rainwater harvesting as well as taking steps to keep crops cultivation and safe drinking water away from salinity.
Sheikh Hasina also emphasized on utilizing surface water more instead of underground water.
Referring to the approval of the project for necessary land acquisition for building bus and truck terminals in various parts of Gazipur City Corporation (GCC) and also ensuring its solid waste management with Taka 782.25 crore, the Prime Minister expressed her mindset to build that city in a nice way through extending necessary support to the authorities of GCC.
The prime minister also emphasized on having a master plan by every public university alongside put due importance on conducting quality researches.
Besides, she said that there should be a capping in the number of students in the universities to ensure quality education.
Mannan said that the education minister in the meeting informed that they are working so that the number of students does not cross the upper limit.
The premier also directed the authorities concerned to complete the Dhaka Bypass speedily.
Answering a question, the planning minister said that they have already published a book compiling the directives of the premier adding that more directives would be compiled in another book in a subject-specific and time-bound way.
Planning division secretary Md Jainul Bari informed that the ministries and divisions have been asked to submit progress reports on the implementation of the prime minister’s directives.
"Once available, those will be compiled and will be placed before the NEC meeting," he added.
Replying to another question, Mannan said there has been tremendous improvement in the law and order situation in the country. But, still, there is scope for further improvement, he added.
The planning minister said at the outset of the Ecnec meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled the cover of a book titled "Bangabandhu in disaster risk reduction" highlighting various orders and directives of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his the then government in disaster risk management.
Besides, he informed that the latest position of Bangladesh in SDGs implementation was also discussed in the meeting.
The meeting was informed that Bangladesh has performed well and is on the right path towards SDGs implementation as the country is ahead of Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan in this regard.
General Economics Division (GED) member of the Planning Commission Dr Shamsul Alam said that Bangladesh is one of three leading countries in attaining SDGs.
Dr Alam said in attaining SDGs, Bangladesh is ahead of Malaysia and Thailand, but is in the same position as Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the other projects approved in the meeting include, development of Kabirhat-Chomirmunshirhat-Sonaimuri road and Senbagh-Begumganj Gasfield-Sonaimuri road under Noakhali road division with Tk371.16 crore, support to Joydevpur-Debgram-Bhulta-Madanpur road (Dhaka bypass) PPP, 1st revised with an additional cost of Tk438.24 crore, development of Bangladesh University of Professionals (1st phase), 1st revised with an additional cost of Tk90.63 crore, development of Bangladesh University of Processionals, second revised, with an additional cost of Tk346.32 crore, and construction of gas distribution pipeline network at Rangpur, Nilphamari, Pirganj town and adjacent areas with Tk258.11 crore.