With the T20 World Cup Cricket less than two months away, the government has decided to give the capital a facelift and approved a Tk 115 crore project in this regard.
The approval came at the first meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) of the new government yesterday.
The fund will be spent for improvement of road infrastructure and beautification work around the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, the home of Bangladesh cricket in Mirpur, and major roads of Dhaka city for the mega event set to kick off from March 16.
This is the first time Bangladesh is hosting a sporting event of such a magnitude alone. It will accommodate a total of 26 teams, for both the men's and women's events to be played at three different venues in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet. The tickets for the extravaganza were effectively sold out within the first four days of sale and a huge influx of tourists is expected during the three-week carnival.
And for smooth traffic movement in the city during the event, measures will also be taken under the project.
The Local Government Division will implement the project which includes infrastructural development of about 23 km roads, electrification, street lighting, traffic signs and road markings of 23.5 km roads and beautification and decorative lighting of 20.5 km roads.
Earlier, the capital saw some cosmetic improvement during the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011, where Bangladesh was a co-host.
Adorned with sparkling street lights, beautified cleaner roads, freshly painted buses and cars, colourful hoardings and vibrant wall paintings, Dhaka hosted the cricket extravaganza and won the hearts of cricket fans across the globe.
Emerging from the ECNEC meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the meeting okayed a total of 13 projects involving Tk 7,735 crore.
Of the total cost, Tk 3,588 crore would come from the government while the remaining Tk 4,147 crore in project assistance, he added.
PM FOR QUICKER ADP IMPLEMENTATION
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who chaired the ECNEC meeting, directed all ministries to take steps for speedy implementation of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) which was slowed down due to political turmoil in the last three months.
The premier said if necessary, the ECNEC meeting would be held twice a week, planning ministry officials told The Daily Star.
According to the planning ministry statistics, only 20 percent of the ADP has been implemented in the first five months of the current fiscal year, five percent lower than that of the same period of the previous fiscal.
The planning minister told reporters that the economy went through a crisis in the last three months.
Because of the crisis, the 7.2 GDP growth target may not be achieved, the minister observed.
He, however, said the average GDP growth had been more than 6 percent over the past four years and the government would try to maintain that mark in the current fiscal year.
Mustafa Kamal also said though some foreign countries raised questions on the January 5 parliamentary elections, it would not have any negative impact on the inflow of foreign aid.
"DEVELOPMENT PARTNER, NOT DONOR"
According to a planning ministry official, the prime minister corrected a "mistake" committed by a secretary in the ECNEC meeting yesterday.
In the meeting, a secretary used the word "donor" to describe a foreign agency that would fund a project.
Sheikh Hasina then corrected him, saying he should have used "development partner" instead of "donor".
The premier argued that the government has to pay interests on foreign assistance. So, the agencies should be called development partners, not donors, the ministry official told The Daily Star, wishing anonymity.