The government today approved a Taka 2,227.77 crore project to widen the road from Panchaboti to Muktarpur and also to construct a double-deck road for establishing easier and cost efficient road communication of Munshiganj with Dhaka and Narayanganj.
The approval came from a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) held today with its Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The premier joined the meeting virtually from her official Ganobhaban residence while ministers and secretaries concerned joined the meeting from the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Briefing reporters after the meeting virtually, General Economics Division (GED) member of the Planning Commission Dr Shamsul Alam informed that the day’s meeting approved a total of four projects involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 3,903.61 crore. “The entire project cost will come from the state exchequer,” he added.
Of the approved four projects, two are new while two others are revised projects.
Revealing the details of the project titled “Widening of road from Panchaboti to Muktarpur and constriction of a double-deck road,” Planning Commission member of the Physical Infrastructure Division Mamun-Al-Rashid said that Bangladesh Bridges Authority under the Bridges Division will implement the project by June 2025.
The project area covers Narayanganj Sadar and Munshiganj Sadar upazilas.
Referring to a study on the project, he informed that once implemented, the project will cut the travel cost by 62 percent, the waiting time will reduce by 74 percent while the average speed of vehicles using this road would increase by 4.45 times.
The main project operations include some 44.50 acres of land acquisition and rehabilitation, some 7,01,140.20 cubic meter earth works, 10.75 km pavement and other works, construction of some 14.79km of median, some 9.06km of ramp and 25 meter bridge.
Besides, there will be 248 cubic meter of box culvert, 25.31 km of drains, 20,193.75 square meter road marking, construction of four toll plazas, three toll monitoring buildings and six weigh stations, 151 meter road widening, construction of 6,175 square meter truck stand and 9.35km temporary road.
GED Member Dr Shamsul Alam said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the meeting asked the authorities concerned to change slightly the title of the project as she directed to use the term ‘double-deck road’ instead of ‘elevated expressway’.
The premier also asked the authorities concerned to speedily implement the project, opining that the deadline should not be 2025 to finish the project works.
Dr Alam said responding to a request, the meeting raised the project cost for consultancy purpose to Taka 25 crore from the initially proposed Taka 10 crore to have much better consultancy services.
The GED member said the Prime Minister asked all concerned to implement development projects within the stipulated timeframe putting an end to the trend of revising projects and cost overrun.
She also directed concerned executing agencies to identify the reasons for which some projects are getting delayed and thus taking necessary measures.
Referring to the approval of the 1st revision of the project titled “Charkhali-Tushkhali-Mothbaria-Patharghata” road development and widening with an additional cost of Taka 44.57 crore, Dr Alam said the Prime Minister sought explanation from the executing agency for the actual reason behind the project cost hike.
The premier reiterated that revision of projects increases cost and such trend should have to be stopped and it could not happen time and again.
She also cautioned that this project would not be extended anymore after the fresh deadline of June 2021.
The GED member said the premier asked the authorities concerned to prepare a ‘master plan’ highlighting the requirements of quality roads in the southern region of the country keeping in mind the growing traffic volume once the Padma Bridge is opened for traffic.
Mentioning that the average traffic load in that region would increase manifold once the Padma Bridge comes into operation, Sheikh Hasina directed for re-shaping and strengthening of roads in that region, saying, “That region will get a new pace once the Padma Bridge is completed.”
The day’s ECNEC meeting also approved a project for improving the civic amenities in Mymensingh City Corporation (MCC) including road development and drainage network with a cost of Taka 1,575.06 crore.
The GED member said the MCC was supposed to provide Taka 157.50 crore from its own fund for the project, but the premier gave directives to bear the entire project cost from the state exchequer.
He also informed that the Prime Minister asked the MCC to implement the project in stipulated timeframe maintaining high quality, not constructing buildings on open fields, not cutting trees, constructing roads and drains maintaining quality and having a good waste management system.
Dr Alam said the meeting also gave nod to the 1st revision of the Agriculture Information Service (AIS) Modernization and Digital Agriculture Information and Communication Strengthening with an additional cost of Taka 41.20 crore.
Referring to the approval of this project, the Prime Minister again sought reasons from the executing agency for the project cost hike and time extension and gave directive for completing the project within the fresh timeframe.