The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved a Taka 1,882.59 crore project to ensure rural water supply, sanitation, following of health guidelines and thus providing WASH facilities to around 4.5 million people for their overall human resource development.
The approval came from the 19th ECNEC meeting of the current fiscal year (FY21) held virtually with ECNEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.The Premier chaired the meeting from the her official Ganabhaban residence while Ministers, State Minister, Secretaries and other officials 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 informed that a total of five projects were approved today involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 3,308.36 crore. “Of the total project cost, Taka 1,245.30 crore will come from the Government of Bangladesh portion, Taka 20.98 crore from the concerned organization’s own fund while the rest of Taka 2,042.08 crore as project assistance,”
Of the approved five projects, two are new while three others are revised projects.
Revealing the details of the project, Planning Commission member of the Physical Infrastructure Division Mamun-Al-Rashid said the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) under the Local Government Division will implement the project for ensuring rural water supply and sanitation by December 2025 with Taka 1,831.76 crore as loan from the World Bank and AIIB.
The project will be implemented at some 98 upazilas under 30 districts of eight Divisions.
Mamun said once the project is implemented, around 45 lakh people would get WASH facilities.The main project operations include implementing some 78 large piped water supply scheme, 3,364 piped water supply scheme at community level, some 352 public sanitation and hygiene facilities, some 500 sanitation and hygiene facilities at community clinics, some 780 running water facilities at community clinic toilets, installing 3,51,270 toilets for extreme poor people, installing some 882 hand washing stations to prevent COVID-19, and providing necessary iteams to prevent COVID-19.
The Planning Division Senior Secretary said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the meeting asked the authorities concerned to ensure optimum use of surface water where it is available during the implementation of this project.
The day’s meeting also approved a project to ensure development of rural infrastructures in Narsingdi district with Taka 795.16 crore.
The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) under the Local Government Division will implement the project by June 2023 at Narsingdi Sadar, Palash, Shibpur, Monohordi, Belabo and Raipura upazilas.
The main project operations include some 569.04km rural road construction and rehabilitation, construction of 22,553 meter drains, some 12,000 meter slope protection work, construction of 15 bridges with a length of 636 meter, construction of six ghats, 14 markets and plantation of trees along 30 kilometer roads.
Ashadul said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the meeting stressed the need for having a “master plan” in each upazila for properly building the infrastructures, mini stadiums and keeping water bodies. She also said that this master plan should not be prototype.
Regarding the approval of the 1st revision of the project for further development of Rajshahi Science and Technology University with an additional cost of Taka 259.17 crore, Ashadul said the Prime Minister directed the authorities concerned to develop a system for ensuring accountability of the universities in the country.
The Premier also directed for framing “master plan” by the concerned education institutions, especially by those big educational institutions to ensure that there is no unplanned construction of building and infrastructure on the campuses.
Noting that the changes in the rate schedule by the executing agencies like LGED, BWDB often raise the project costs, Sheikh Hasina also directed that this rate schedule must have to be get approved by the Ministry of Finance before the project gets government approval. The Planning Commission will oversee the matter, Ashadul said quoting the Premier.
Ashadul told a questioner that the Ministry of Finance has already issued a circular in this regard to effectively address the issue of rate schedule.
Regarding the tendency of not staying at earmarked government houses and quarters by the public servants and university teachers, the Prime Minister instructed that the public servants would have to stay in their earmarked government houses and quarters.
Otherwise, they would not get the house allowance and the Ministry of Finance will take necessary steps in this regard, the Senior Secretary said quoting the Premier.
Regarding the approval of the 2nd revision of Installation of Titas gas meters project with an additional cost of Taka 254.90 crore, Ashadul said the Prime Minister in the meeting stressed that such installation of gas meters should be made universal especially in the industrial belt through installing more pre-paid meters.
Quoting a Titas Gas Ltd survey, Planning Commission member Nasima Begum informed that installation of such pre-paid gas meters has reduced both on average gas consumption and cost.
She said the on average two-burner usage of gas for per family every month is 78.12 cubic meter where a consumer need to pay fixed Taka 975 per month.
On the other hand under the coverage of pre-paid meter, Nasima said the on average two-burner usage of gas for per family every month is 48.06 cubic meter where a consumer need to pay Taka 605 on average every month.
Answering to a question, the Planning Division Senior Secretary said since the bulk of gas usage take place in the industrial areas, emphasis has been given to increase the coverage of pre-paid gas meters in the industrial areas to ensure reduction in system loss and gas pilferage.
The day’s ECNEC meeting also approved the 1st revision of the land acquisition for constructing sewerage System in Khulna Metropolitan with an additional cost of Taka 116.54 crore.