The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) today approved a Taka 560.07 crore project to protect Singrabari, Patagram, Baoikhola areas under Kazipur upazila of Sirajganj district from the erosion of the Jamuna river.
The approval came from the 14th ECNEC meeting of the current fiscal year (FY21) with its Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The Premier chaired the meeting virtually from her official Ganobhaban residence while the ECNEC members and others concerned joined the meeting from the NEC Conference Room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Division Senior Secretary Md Ashadul Islam said the ECNEC meeting today approved a total of four projects involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 2,459.15 crore.
"Of the total project cost, Taka 1,669.31 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh, Taka 182.14 crore from the concerned organization's own fund while the rest Taka 607.70 crore as project assistance," he added.
Revealing the details of the project, Planning Commission member Md Zakir Hossain Akand said that Bangladesh Water Development Board under the Ministry of Water Resources will implement the project by June 2023.
The project aims to protect assets and properties like residential buildings, schools, colleges, mosques, madrashas, haat-bazars (markets), union parishad buildings, health complexes, different public and private infrastructures, arable lands, roads worth around Taka 4,344.25 crore from erosion of Jamuna river on its right embankment at Sirajganj Sadar and Kazipur upazilas.
Zakir said the main project operations include 6km riverbank protection, reshaping of 12.40km flood protection embankment, 1.15km affected riverbank protection, rehabilitation and its strengthening.
He said once the project is implemented, it would help check river erosion there.
The day's ECNEC meeting also approved the project for setting up of Shutki (dried fish) processing industry at Cox's Bazar district with a cost of Taka 198.79 crore in a bid to reduce post fish harvesting loss, boost production of quality dried fish through modern method, its conservation and developing dried fish marketing management.
Zakir said the project aims to rehabilitate some 4,609 fishermen families at Khurushkul area in Cox's Bazar through ensuring their employments, installing a self reliant dried fish processing center at Khurushkul having capacity of production, processing and conservation of 14,000 metric tons of dried fish through modern method.
Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock will implement the project by December 2023 with a cost of Taka 198.79 crore.
The main project operations include constructing a 2500 square meter unloading shed, 1,860 square meter four-storey lab, office, training center cum dormitory, constructing 100 metric tons capacity cold storage, two-way bridges and three pontoons/gangways, installing 350 green house mechanical driers and 30 mechanical driers, packaging factory, installing 36 dried fish sales center, 10 toilet zones, one power sub-station and three RCC jetties.
About the directives of the Premier, the Planning Division senior secretary said that the Prime Minister directed the authorities concerned to have proper plan for conducting capital dredging and thus conducting maintenance dredging in the major rivers to keep the usual flow of water alongside identifying the sandbanks (dubo chars) and thus taking steps for conducting dredging.
She also stressed the need for creating buffer zones in the rainy season for conserving the water so that it could be used later, added Ashadul.
He informed that the premier asked the authorities concerned to place the dredging related projects before the ECNEC in the coming days as well as to come up with a permanent plan or measure for dredging.
Regarding the project on dried fish, Ashadul said Sheikh Hasina also directed that none, except those who will be rehabilitated at the Shutki processing industrial area in Cox's bazaar, could settle there since it is close to the Cox's Bazar Airport and other structures.
The premier once again stressed the need for completing the projects in the stipulated timeframe.
Turning to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, he said the Prime Minister again reminded all to remain prepared and create awareness among all as well as wear masks in the wake of 2nd wave of the pandemic.
The two other projects approved in the meeting are Upgradation of Pachdona-Danga-Ghorashal-district highway into four-lane with separate service lanes on both sides (including Danga Bazar-Islampur link), 1st revised, with an additional cost of Taka 551.51 crore and Installation of Aminbazar-Mawa-Mongla 400KV Transmission Line, 1st revised, with an additional cost of Taka 1,148.78 crore.