The government on Tuesday revised the Matarbari 1,200MW coal-fired power project to make infrastructures suitable for the country's first deep seaport in the area.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the revised proposal, raising the project cost by Tk15,870 crore to Tk51,854.87 crore.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the Ecnec meeting from her official Ganabhaban residence through video conferencing.
After the meeting, Sharifa Khan, a member of the Industry and Energy Division under the Planning Commission, told a news conference the Matarbari power project includes the construction of other infrastructures, such as a channel for sea-going vessels and a jetty for imported coal.
"Since there is no deep seaport in our country, the government has taken an initiative to set up a deep seaport at Matarbari," she said, adding that for this reason, the channel constructed under the power project is being made suitable for sea-going vessels.
In the original project proposal, the channel was proposed to be 3km long, 250m wide and 15m deep, but the channel will now be 14.3km long, 350m wide and 18.5m deep, according to the revised proposal, she added.
Sharifa Khan said 98% of the increase in the project cost was due to the expansion of infrastructure facilities, keeping the port in view.
According to sources in the Planning Commission, all the infrastructure of the deep seaport will be handed over to the Chattogram Port Authority after construction.
Besides, the port authorities have also taken an initiative to implement a project for the construction of other infrastructures, such as the jetty of Matarbari deep seaport, which is now awaiting approval.
Meanwhile, the implementation period of the Matarbari power project has also been extended by another three and a half years.
The physical progress of the Matarbari power project, which started in June 2014, was 60.80% till October this year.
Earlier, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) was supposed to provide Tk28,939 crore for the project. But Jica is now increasing the loan to about Tk43,921 crore while Tk6,406 crore will come from government funds.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the authorities concerned to form Matarbari Development Authority for proper monitoring of the development activities being implemented by the government in the area.
Development activities on Sonadia Island will also remain under this authority.
State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam told the news conference that the prime minister had given the directive while approving the amendment proposal of the Matarbari power project.
The press conference was attended by Planning Minister MA Mannan and members of the Planning Commission.
Including this project, 10 projects costing around Tk29,344 crore have been approved at the Ecnec meeting.
The prime minister chaired the Ecnec meeting from Ganabhaban through video conferencing while ministers and secretaries attended it from the NEC conference room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.
Meanwhile, the meeting approved a project at a cost of Tk3,490 crore for the construction of a flyover and physical infrastructure in the haor area.
Under the project, five flyovers will be constructed in Dharmapasha, Tahirpur, Bishwamvarpur and Jamalganj upazilas of Sunamganj and in the haor area of Barhatta Upazila of Netrokona.
Besides, 118.13km of all-season roads and 39.39km of submersible roads will be constructed for the development of a communication system in the haor area.
Other projects approved by Ecnec include modernisation of the marine academy, the development of Aricha-Ghior-Daulatpur-Nagarpur-Tangail regional highway, establishing digital connectivity, development of important rural infrastructure in Sylhet division, and disaster risk management enhancement.