The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday approved a project for boosting security along the shared border with Myanmar in order to prevent any further influx of Rohingya refugees from Rakhine state.
The project is titled “Rehabilitation of Polders” and aims to tighten security along the Naf River in the Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas of Cox’s Bazar by June 2020.
It was approved during a regular Ecnec meeting presided over by prime minister Sheikh Hasina at the NEC Conference Room on Tuesday.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the Tk141.65 crore project will be funded entirely by the national exchequer.
He said controlling floods and improving the water extraction system in the project area were also additional goals of the project.
The minister said there is a 47.6km flood control dam and 46 water extraction infrastructures under polders 67/A, 67, 67/B and 68 built by Bangladesh Water Development Board along the right bank of the Naf River.
The flood control dam and water extraction infrastructures were damaged by natural disasters including cyclones, floods and excessive rain in 1991, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
"Border Guard Bangladesh has been using the flood control embankment to resist the influx of Rohingya. It has become difficult for BGB members to continue border patrols as the dam is still damaged," he said.
The minister said the project was undertaken following the proposal of a technical committee formed in 2015 by Bangladesh Water Development Board.
The 16th Ecnec meeting of the current fiscal year also cleared 13 other projects, including the Implementation of Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 (VAT Online) (2nd revised) Project.
Mustafa Kamal said: "A total of 14 projects were approved at the meeting today involving an overall estimated cost of Tk 6,228.49 crore."
Of the estimated cost, Tk5,421.40 crore will come from the national exchequer, while Tk65.81 crore will be funded by the organizations concerned and Tk741.28 crore as project assistance, he said.
Of the 14 projects, nine are new while five have been revised.