Bangladesh and India were set to review the progress of 47 development projects under Indian credits to speed up their implementation during the upcoming visit to New Delhi by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Besides, an MoU might be signed between the two nations regarding setting up an office of Indian Exim Bank, the financiers of three Indian Line of Credits (LoC), in Dhaka, sources at Economic Relations Division (ERD) said.Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is slated to pay a four-day visit to New Delhi from October 3 to 6, first time after she took office for the third consecutive term early this year.
ERD and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) are taking necessary preparations regarding these important issues.
As part of that, an inter-ministerial meeting and another meeting headed by the PM’s Economic Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman were supposed to be held, ERD sources said.
“We’ve remained alert from the very outset so that the India funded projects get momentum and that no complexities arise at the projects’ approval level,” commented Planning Minister MA Mannan.
As soon as any Indian LoC projects reach Planning Commission, it tries to complete the scrutiny and approval quickly after following proper procedure, he said, adding: “I’ve told concerned officials to resolve any tiny mistakes in the project proposals at their office.”
By doing so, however, they have to maintain project quality as well while making the approval process faster, he informed.So far, Bangladesh has signed loan deals for a total of $7.5 billion Indian loans under three line of credits for implementing 47 development projects.
Bangladesh signed the first LoC deal for $1 billion on August 07 in 2010 and 15 projects were picked up under it of which 12 have already been completed while three are still ongoing.
Out of $1 billion first LoC, the Indian government later announced $200 million as grants while increased the loan amount from $800 million to $862 million.
Bangladesh received $536 million of the loan amount until August this year, according to ERD data.
Among the ongoing projects under first LoC, work of Khulna-Mongla rail line started in 2016 and was supposed to be completed by June 2018. But the project time has been extended up to June 2021.
Similarly, Dhaka-Tongi third and fourth duel-gauge rail lines construction were supposed to be completed by June this year, but the work has been extended until 2023.
The work of Kulaura-Shahbazpur section rehabilitation project saw time extension up to December 2020 as well after Bangladesh Railway failed to finish it by June this year.
16 projects were undertaken under the $2 billion second Indian LoC that was signed on March 09 in 2016. Until August 20 this year, only $83 million was released.
Of the 2nd LoC projects, four are ongoing, 10 are at procurement process and project proposals for the rest of the two are yet to be ready.
Bangladesh signed a deal for a whopping $4.5 billion third LoC on October 04, 2017 to implement 16 important infrastructure projects, including power evacuation line for Rooppur nuclear power plant.
Four projects of third LoC are at the procurement level while 12 projects are still unready. Until May 21 this year, only a meagre amount of $0.96 million was released under third LoC.
Indian Exim Bank has already launched an office in Dhaka’s Gulshan area, but the MoU for the official opening has not been signed, official sources informed.
The MoU is expected to be signed during the PM’s upcoming New Delhi visit.
A bilateral meeting between Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to be held on October 05.