The Ecnec yesterday approved 17 projects including one for land acquisition to elevate the Faridpur-Kuakata highway into a four lane one to establish smooth communication with the tourist spot.
These take the total number of projects approved this week by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council to 37.
After the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told reporters that typically in the lead-up to a national election the private sector feels hesitant about taking any big investment decisions.
The slump in private investment is being compensated with public investment and hence the flurry of project approvals.
Some 32 more projects are ready at the Ecnec secretariat for approval.
“We may have to hold two more Ecnec meetings,” he said, adding that the meetings have no connection with the polls-time government.
At the meeting yesterday, which was chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the 17 projects that got the green light would cost Tk 14,200 crore.
Of the total, only Tk 195 crore would be foreign funding; the rest would come from the government's own source.
One of the projects that got approval pertains to acquisition of 302 acres of land to elevate the Faridpur-Bhanga-Barishal-Patuakhali-Kuakata highway into a four-lane.
The project will cost Tk 1,886 crore and will include setting up of various utilities.
There is already a two-lane road from Faridpur to Kuakata; it will be elevated to four lane and service lanes will be provided on the both sides.
According to the project proposal, once the Padma Bridge is completed the four lane road will play a significant role in building a safe and quick communication with Dhaka.
After the land is acquired, another project will be taken to upgrade the Faridpur-Kuakata road into a four lane.
Ecnec also gave its nod to another project involving Tk 4,065 crore for building surface water treatment plant for Rajshahi Wasa. Of the project cost, Chinese Exim Bank will finance Tk 2,313 crore.
Under the project, water from the Padma river will be treated for Rajshahi Wasa. The plant will be able to treat 20 crore litres of water a day, which will meet the full demand of Rajshahi city, according to the project document.
Ecnec also approved a project for improvement of the electricity distribution system in Chattogram at a cost of Tk 2,551 crore.
Another project involving Tk 1,230 crore was approved for improvement of a road network and construction of bus terminals in different wards of Chattogram City Corporation.
Two more projects worth Tk 1,889 crore were approved for the development of rural infrastructure in Jashore, Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts.
In yesterday's Ecnec meeting two more projects were also placed, including a project for developing the lake around the Gulshan neighbourhood. But the two projects were withdrawn. The cost of Gulshan Lake Development project was about Tk 5,000 crore.
For implementing the Gulshan Lake Development project, about 12,000 slum dwellers will have to be shifted, Kamal said.
“The prime minister gave a directive that the project cannot be implemented without rehabilitating the slum dwellers,” he added.
Meanwhile, an Ecnec meeting held on Tuesday approved 20 projects involving Tk 32,525 crore.