The government will set up a modern and high-frequency telecommunication network at five economic zones and tourism parks in Sylhet, Jamalpur and Cox's Bazar, with an aim to accelerate the country's economic development.
During a virtual meeting yesterday, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved a project of the posts and telecommunications division named "Setting up Telecommunication Network at Economic Zones (Phase-1)", involving Tk 95.12 crore.
Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting from Gono Bhaban.
After the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said the government was going for a modernised telecommunication network at the under-construction economic zones as foreign investors sought assurance of quality telecommunication and internet services before investment.
The Ecnec approved a total of 10 projects involving an estimated cost of Tk 11,901.33 crore.
Of the sum, Tk 8,991.44 crore will come from the state coffer, Tk 809.98 crore from related government agencies, and Tk 2,099.91 crore as project assistance.
The Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) will implement the telecommunication network project at the Srihatta Economic Zone in Moulvibazar, the Jamalpur Economic Zone, two tourism parks at Sabrang and Naf in Teknaf, and the Sonadia Tourism Park in Moheshkhali.
The project tenure runs from January 2021 to June 2023.
The project activities include setting up high-power dense wavelength division multiplexing optical fibre transmission link, establishing telecom exchange with 6,000 connection capacity, installing routers with high-speed internet back up, and constructing a telecom building in each of the zones.
The prime minister emphasised that state-owned companies like BTCL implement such projects on their own fund, the planning minister told a virtual media briefing.
"The prime minister stressed that state-owned entities established for doing business should try to be independent so that they do not have to rely on government grants," the minister said.
The Ecnec approved a proposal seeking the extension of one and a half years and an additional Tk 195 crore for a project to set up a super-specialised hospital with modern healthcare facilities at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
The estimated project cost was earlier fixed at Tk 1,366.34 crore. As per the approved proposal, the cost has gone up by 14.3 per cent to Tk 1,561.18 crore.
Initially, the project tenure was from January 2016 to December 2019, and it was earlier extended to December 2020. The new deadline is June 2022.
The prime minister expressed concern over the delay in implementing the super-specialised hospital project and ordered to complete it fast, Mannan said.
Moshammat Nasima Begum, a member of the socio-economic infrastructure department of the planning commission, said the implementation was delayed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic as Korean consultants went back.
A South Korean consulting firm conducted the feasibility study of the project in 2014, she said.
Another project that received the nod was Tk 1,452.33 crore Rehabilitation and Expansion of Command area of the Teesta Irrigation Project. The implementation period is January 2021 to June 2024.