Ecnec approves Tk 682cr project for arsenic-hit areas

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved eight development projects involving Tk 3,039 crore, including a Tk-682 crore project to ensure piped water supply among the people of the country’s arsenic and salinity-prone areas.

The approval was given at an Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room with Prime Minister and Ecnec Chairperson Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, acting Planning Division Secretary Bhuiyan Shafiqul Islam said of the total project cost, Tk 830 crore will come from the public coffer while Tk 2,096 crore from project assistance. The remaining Tk 113 crore will come from community sponsors.

Under the pure water and sanitation facility project, ‘Bangladesh rural water supply and sanitation’, piped water will be supplied to arsenic and salinity-prone villages of 33 districts of all the seven divisions of the country.

Besides, non-piped water supply system will be constructed in the areas having acute salinity, iron and arsenic problem. More than 3 lakh low-cost latrines would also be constructed for the ultra poor people of the selected unions.

Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) will implement the project by June 2016. The World Bank will provide a credit of Tk 555 crore for the project. Community sponsor will also provide Tk 113 crore.

The meeting also approved three projects for the development of the railway sector. Of the three, ‘Bangladesh Railway sector development project’ will ensure the development of regional and sub-regional railway communication along with a safe and speedy train journey.

The project cost is Tk 396 crore of which ADB will provide Tk 322 crore. Railway’s second project is ‘Rehabilitation of Bangladesh Railway main sections (West zone) (1st Revised) project involving Tk 150 crore and the other is ‘Procurement of 11 MG Locomotives for Bangladesh Railway’ with Tk 481 crore which will meet the demand for adequate number of passengers and goods train for Dhaka-Chittagong corridor.

Of the project cost of Tk 481 crore, JBIC (Japan Bank of International Co-operation) will provide Tk 335 crore.

The Ecnec meeting also approved ‘Water management development project (2nd revised)’ project with an aim to improve the country’s water management through rehabilitating the country’s dilapidated and affected water infrastructures and developing new water infrastructures.

The Tk 982-crore project will be supported by Tk 741 crore IDA loan and Tk 143 crore grant from the Netherlands.

The other projects approved at the meeting are: Dredging of Pashur Channel Harbour of Mongla Port (1st revised) project (Tk 132 crore– GoB); Construction/Rehabilitation of ferry and pontoons (Tk 129 crore GoB) and Expansion and development of Chittagong College–Kapasgola road (1st revised) (Tk 90 crore – GoB).

Ecnec members, including Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Planning Minister AK Khandker, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Communications Minister Obaidul Quader, ministers concerned, advisers to the Prime Minister, members of the Planning Commission, secretaries and officials concerned were present at the meeting.

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