Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday rejected a Tk 172.90 billion project proposal designed to provide midday meals to primary school students.
The rejection came at the meeting of The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) that Sheikh Hasina, chairperson of the committee, chaired virtually from Ganabhaban.“The project has not been approved as the Prime Minister is concerned about its structure (modus operandi). She said cooking Khichuri (hotchpotch) in schools might hamper the study of students,” said Planning Minister MA Mannan in a press briefing later.
The Directorate of Primary Education under the Primary and Mass Education Ministry formulated the midday meal project in order to ensure nutrition and sound health of the students.
Mannan said the project would not be placed for approval any more, but new projects over the midday meal may come in different formats.
He said the Prime Minister supports the midday meal system for students, but she asked for further study for designing such projects. The meeting cleared nine other projects involving an estimated total cost of Tk 52.40bn and most of the money will be borne from the GoB fund, the minister informed. Only Tk 2.50 billion will come as foreign loans.
The meeting approved a Tk 30.90 billion project to protect Meghna river bank to safeguard establishments at Ramgati and Kamalnagar upazilas in the Laxmipur district.
Bangladesh Water Development Board will implement the Riverbank protection of Meghna at Borokheri and Ludhuabazar under Ramgoti and Kamalnagar Upazilas and Kaderpanditer Haat under Laxmipur District by June 2025 with GoB fund.Once implemented, it will help protect the farmland, markets, haat-bazars, schools, colleges, madrashas, Roads and various public and private establishments and infrastructures worth Tk 13,992.20 billion from river erosion under Ramgati and Kamalnagar upazilas.
With the initiative, it will also be possible to protect crops of some 30,000 hectares of land from tidal surge.
Ecnec also cleared the 2nd phase of the coordinated rurual employment support project for poor women at a cost of Tk 3.47 billion. It will be implemented in 472 unions under 59 upzilas of 17 districts under Khulna, Barishal, Chattogram and Rangpur divisions.
A new project designed to set up Bangabandhu Space Observation Centre was cleared at the Ecnec meeting. Its cost has been estimated at Tk 2.13 billion.
The government will spend Tk 2.37 billion on another new project to set up the necessary infrastructures for newly created Battalion in Narayanganj for Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB). A project was also okayed to expand and improve Kushtia-Meherpur segment of Kushtia-Meherpur-Chuadanga-Jhenidah (R-745) regional highway at an estimated cost of Tk 6.43 billion.
Bangladesh Economic Zones Development Project (Phase-1), 3rd revised, of Tk 9.87 billion; capacity enhancement of Bangladesh Safe Food Authority of Tk 880 million; 400kv transmission line for Matarbari coal power plant (PGCB part), 1st revised, of Tk 13.23 billion; income-generating for women at upazila level project, 2nd revised, of Tk 5.91 billion also got approval at the meeting.