The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) in its weekly meeting on Tuesday approved the 3rd Revision of the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway into four-lane one increasing the project cost by over Tk 626 crore to Tk 3,816.94 crore.The meeting also extended the project (Daudkandi-Chittagong portion) timeline to December 2016.
The approval came from the 21st Ecnec meeting of the current fiscal year held at the NEC conference room with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said a total of nine projects were approved today with an outlay of Tk 4,961.42 crore.
“Of the total project cost, Tk 4,945.09 crore will come from the state coffer while the remaining Tk 16.33 crore from the organization’s own fund,” the minister said.
Of the approved nine projects, eight are new while one is revised one.
About the project expansion timeline, the Planning Minister said this important project from the very beginning had faced various obstacles and now it would be possible to complete it by this year.
Regarding the increase in project cost, he said there was a need to acquire some areas freshly while unavailability of earth was one of the physical constraints of this project which also led to the increase in project timeframe and cost.
Mustafa Kamal said the Road Transport and Bridges Minister is optimistic about completing this project by this May or June.
He said the proposed Dhaka-Chittagong Elevated Expressway will also be built over this four-lane and it will contribute immensely to the national economy by boosting the GDP growth.
The Minister aid the Planning Commission has already received directives from the government high-ups to start work on the Dhaka-Chittagong Elevated Expressway project.
Mustafa Kamal told a questioner that another project will be taken to complete and further extend the flyovers being built under this Four-Lane project considering easing traffic congestion.
According to a monthly progress report of the Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IEMD) of the Planning Ministry, a total of Tk. 2,411.25 crore were spent till November last.
In 2006, the government had approved a project, to be completed by June 2012, at a cost of Tk 2,168.38 crore from Daudkandi toll plaza to Chittagong city gate with a four-lane highway length of 192.30 kilometer to ensure uninterrupted communication between the capital and the port city. Later, the project was revised for the first time, increasing the cost to Tk 2,382.17 crore in 2009 due to the correction of the profile of the project and changes in its cross-sectional design.
In March 2013, Ecnec revised the project for the 2nd time, hiking the cost to Tk. 3,190.29 crore, with the aim to complete it by December 2014.
The Ecnec meeting also gave nod to the Establishment of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre, Rajshahi with Tk 222.03 crore to be completed by June, 2018.
Kamal said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the authorities concerned to establish similar Novo Theatre in Chittagong and then in another divisional headquarters.
The other projects approved at the meeting are: Establishment of 12 barracks at various units of Bangladesh Police at Tk 219.17 crore, construction of 456 flats for government staff at Malibagh, Dhaka at Tk 194.69 crore, construction of 288 residential flats for the staff of Department of Public Works at Mirpur section-6 at Tk 120.14 crore, development of roads, drains and footpaths of Comilla City Corporation at Tk 81.66 crore, renovation of water supply system at Rajshahi metropolis at Tk 67.50 crore, construction of 282.558-meter long PC girder bridge over River Banar on Mymensingh-Gafargaon Tok road at Tk 43.71 crore and Development of Faridpur (Maizkandi)-Boalmari-Gopalganj (Bhatiapara) road, including development of Sosrail-Alafdanga road development at Tk 195.58 crore.
Ministers and State Ministers, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present.