The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved four projects, including a Tk 567-crore one, to develop the runways of three domestic airports – Jashore, Syedpur and Rajshahi-- to ensure the safe landing and take-off of aircraft.
The approval came from the weekly Ecnec meeting 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 four projects of three ministries were approved in today’s meeting. The total estimated cost of the four projects is Tk 1668.29 crore,” said Planning Division Secretary Md Ashadul Islam while briefing reporters after the meeting.
Of the cost, Tk 1,555 crore will be financed from GoB funds, while the rest Tk 113.35 crore will come from the fund of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh.
Among the four projects, three are new, while the remaining one is a revised project.
Talking about the Project titled ‘Asphalt Concrete Overlay on the runway surface of Jashore Airport, Syedpur Airport and Shah Makhdum Airport, Rajshahi’, Ashadul Islam said the project will be implemented from January 2021 to June 2023 at a cost of Tk 566.76 crore.
The major project operations include putting asphalt concrete overlay on the airport runways, upgradation of airfield ground lighting system, development of drainage system, including runway side-strips, procurement of a modern fire extinguishing vehicle for each airport.
During approval of the project, the Prime Minister directed the authorities concerned to install proper lighting system at the domestic airport so that flights can land and take off at night as well, said Ashadul Islam.
“Since the use of the airports is on the rise, it’ll have to install the lighting system there so that aircraft can land and take off there at night,” the PM was quoted as saying.
In this regard, the Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary informed the meeting that they have a plan to install the lighting system in the airports on completion of the runway upgradation works.
The Prime Minister said the airports will have to be modernised properly in phases with their growing use following the rise in economic activities due to the establishment of economic zones.
About the second project titled ‘Land Acquisition and Development for Solid Waste Management in Kadamrashul Area of Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC)’ the Planning Division Secretary said the project will be implemented from January 2021 to June 2023 at a cost of Tk 301.35 crore.
The major project operations include acquisition of 69.87 acres of land, development of 446795 cubic metres of land, construction of a 2600-metre boundary wall and 550-metre approach road, procurement of six motorcycles, five garbage trucks and one excavator.
Though it was supposed to finance Tk 30.16 crore from the fund of NCC to implement the project, the Prime Minister directed the authorities concerned to provide the entire project fund from the GoB.
She also asked the NCC authorities to be careful so that the proposed landfill does not pollute water.
Talking about another new project titled ‘Irrigation expansion in greater Dinajpur and Joypurhat districts through development of surface water’, the secretary said Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) will implement the project by June 2025 at a cost of Tk 251.15 crore in 28 upazilas under four districts – Thakurgaon, Panchagarh, Dinajpur and Joypurhat.
The major project operations include re-excavation of 200 kms of canal (33 canals), 60 water bodies, installation of 165 electricity or solar power driven low-lift pumps (LLPs), 165 underground irrigation lines, procurement of 165 pre-paid metres, construction of nine office buildings.
While approving the project, the Prime Minister stressed the need for reducing the use of underground water and preserve river and rain waters, said Ashadul Islam.
Ecnec also endorsed the 1st revision of Madaripur, Shariatpur and Rajbari districts Rural Infrastructure Development project increasing the cost by Tk 549.03 crore and extending the time till June 2023 instead of June 2022.
The original project cost was Tk 1560.15 crore, which has now stood at Tk 2,109.18 crore.
About the rationale of the cost hike, Planning Commission member Md Zakir Hossain Akand said most upazila and union connecting roads as well as village roads could not be developed completely due to fund crisis under the original project. Now the roads will be developed fully under the revised project, he said.
Besides, he said, the 2016 rate schedule was followed while designing the project, but the latest rate schedule will be applied in the case of the remaining works under the project now, he said.
While talking about the project, the Prime Minister directed the authorities concerned to make rural roads stronger so that heavier vehicles can ply the roads, said the Planning Division Secretary.