The government has allocated large funds for several mega projects under the next fiscal year's Annual Development Programme (ADP) to speed up the implementation of the projects ahead of the next national polls.
Some other projects, including Dhaka Underground Metro Rail, circular railway and the second Padma bridge, have been included in the development programme.
The National Economic Council (NEC) in a meeting yesterday approved Tk 173,000 crore ADP for the FY2018-19, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Of the amount, Tk 32,555 crore was set aside for nine projects. Among them are two newly included projects -- Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway and a separate railway bridge along the Bangabandhu Bridge on the Jamuna river. A total of Tk 2,226 crore has been earmarked for the elevated expressway and Tk 78 crore for the railway bridge project.
The next parliamentary polls in scheduled to be held in December.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the highest allocation of Tk 45,449 crore has been made for the transport sector considering the importance of improving the country's communication system, Padma Bridge and Padma Rail Link projects.
Describing the ADP as the “lifeline” to the country's economic growth, the minister said the government was making progress in a planned way to turn the country into a middle-income one by 2021 and a rich one by 2041.
A planning ministry official said although the government had planned to complete the Tk 28,793 crore Padma Bridge project by December this year, it might be delayed by six to seven months.
According to the website of the road transport and bridges ministry, the project completion deadline is November 2018.
As of February, Tk 15,029 crore has been spent. Under the new ADP, Tk 4,395 crore has been allocated for the project.
The planning minister insisted that the project would be completed by the deadline. He said the implementation status of the project cannot be understood by looking at the allocation of funds as money is paid even six months or one year after the completion of the project.
The Padma Rail Link Project had got a big allocation under the current ADP. But as the loan agreement with China was delayed, the work on over Tk 34,000 crore project could not be started last year.
The deal was signed last month. Under the new ADP, Tk 5,330 crore has been allocated for the project.
The construction of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the largest project under the proposed ADP, has been progressing fast. The work on the Tk 113,000 crore project started last year and Tk 6,047 crore was spent till February this year.
In the next FY, the highest allocation of Tk 11,099 crore has been made for it.
Large allocations have also been made for the Metro Rail, Karnaphuli tunnel, Dohazari-Ghumdum rail line and Matarbari ultra-super coal based power plant projects.
Besides, funds have been earmarked for carrying out feasibility studies of two big projects to ease traffic jam in the capital. A feasibility study and a detailed design will be done for setting up an underground metro rail in the city. The project cost has been estimated at Tk 224 crore and Tk 81 crore has been allocated for it.
To lay a circular railway track around the capital, Tk 22.40 crore has been allocated under the new ADP. The Tk 30 crore project will be implemented under a government-to-government (G-to-G) initiative for which Japan has shown its interest.
In the new ADP of Tk 173,000 crore, the government's own funding has increased by 16.59 percent to Tk 1.13 lakh crore and foreign funding by 15.27 percent to Tk 60,000 crore.
In addition, the state-owned enterprises will get Tk 7,869 crore, down by 14.59 percent from the ADP of the current fiscal year.
The second highest allocation (Tk 22,930 crore) of the proposed ADP has been made for the power sector.
Among the other sectors, physical planning, water supply and housing will get Tk 17,890 crore, rural development organisations Tk 16,690 crore, education and religion Tk 16,620 crore, science, information and communication technology Tk 14,210 crore, health Tk 11,905 crore, agriculture Tk 7,076 crore, water resources Tk 4,592 crore, and public administration Tk 3,361 crore.
A total of 78 projects have been included in the next fiscal year's development programme. The projects will be implemented under Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Among the projects is 2nd Padma Bridge at Paturia-Goalundo. The cost of the bridge has been estimated at $1.5 billion. Another project is Tk 19,951 crore Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway.