The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) did not approve state-owned telecom operator Teletalk's 5G project, as the feasibility study was conducted internally by Teletalk.
The decision came at a meeting of the committee at the NEC auditorium chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday.
The premier rejected the project proposal at the last stage of approval, and also ordered a reshaping of the proposal following a new and proper feasibility study to be conducted by a third party, said Planning Secretary Nurul Amin.
He was talking at a press briefing after the meeting.
"The prime minister has also asked the Teletalk authority to improve the services of this state-owned mobile operator," said the planning secretary.
The Posts and Telecommunications Division sent a project proposal, titled "Expansion of Teletalk's Network up to Rural Areas and Network Readiness for 5G Services," to the Planning Commission.
The project, involving a cost of Tk3,279 crore, asked the government to fund Tk3155.50 crore at five percent interest rate.
The project proposal says Teletalk has limited 4G services in divisional headquarters and in some district towns. Teletalk customers at the upazila level are getting 2G network-based voice services.
Even some remote unions and villages do not have access to 2G services. The project would have priorities expanding 4G services at the union and rural levels.
Teletalk officials said that they need at least 18,160 Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) to ensure countrywide 4G mobile network services. The company at present has 4864 BTSs — only around 26 percent of the required number.
The planning secretary said the Ecnec had approved the first revision proposal for BSCIC Plastic Industrial Park project at an estimated cost of Tk397.45 crore.
The project is going on at an estimated cost of Tk133 crore. It aims to relocate plastic companies through discretely placing them in Old Dhaka on as many as 370 industrial plots.
The project will cost an additional Tk264.45 crore, having increased to almost triple than the original project cost.
The deadline for the project to be completed has been extended to June next year. The earlier deadline expired in June 2018, without any physical progress being made.
The planning secretary also said the Ecnec had approved altogether nine projects involving an estimated Tk2422.27 crore.
"To implement the projects, the government will provide Tk2104.45 crore from its funds while implementing agencies will provide the remaining Tk313.82 crore," said the planning secretary.
Of the nine approved projects, five are completely new. The remaining four are revisions of ongoing projects, he added.
The cost of the four projects reached leapt to Tk1268.19 crore from Tk609.40 crore. After the revision, the project costs increased by108 percent. And the total cost for these projects increased byTk658.79 crore.
A multipurpose building for Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) will cost Tk92.35 crore, 48.95 percent higher than the original cost of Tk62crore.
A project to widen the Syedpur-Nilphamari highway will cost another Tk217.08 crore, an increase of 96 percent after the revision.
The meeting also approved another project aimed at acquiring land and preparing other facilities to support an India-Bangladesh pipeline project.
The project will cost Tk306.23 crore. Meghna Petroleum Ltd will bear all expenses on behalf of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).