The government yesterday approved four projects costing Tk 9,454 crore for facilitating transit of goods from India, Bhutan and Nepal, setting up internal business hubs and attracting foreign investment.
The projects were given the go-ahead at yesterday's meeting of Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), which was chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
One of the projects is on enhancing the Mongla port's capacity at a cost of Tk 6,015 crore. Of the sum, India would provide Tk 4,459 crore as loan.
After the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan told journalists that they were encouraging the three neighbouring countries to avail transit facilities through the Mongla port.
The transit facility is already being provided for some goods and the volume will increase in future, he said.
As per the project proposal, lots of activities are taking place in the country's southwest: a Dhaka-Mawa-Mogla highway is being turned into a four-lane, an airport is being built in Khulna, a coal-based power plant in Rampal and special economic zones and an export processing zone in Mongla.
All of these will be completed by 2021, for which the Mongla port needs to be modernised and capacity enhanced through the addition of container terminals and handling and delivery yards, it said.
The second project is on modernising the river port of Paturia-Daulatdia at a cost of Tk 1,351 crore.
Once the Padma bridge is complete, the river port would solely be used to transport large volumes of goods as the movement of people would take place over the bridge.
This would transform the area into a business hub, said the project proposal.
Moreover, goods in transit to the three neighbouring countries would go through the port. In order to facilitate such movements, high-rise terminal buildings alongside terminals would be built and the riverbed dredged.
The third project involves turning into four-lane a road connecting Anwara upazila of Chattogram to the approach road of the under-construction Karnaphuli tunnel. This would take up Tk 407 crore.
The planning minister's proposal says a Chinese economic zone was being built in Anwara alongside a fertiliser factory. This road would come to their aid, facilitating smoother connectivity with the Chattogram port and that of Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox's Bazar.
A 28.54-kilometre road coming down from the Padma bridge to Jazira and then Shariatpur would be made into four-lane at a cost of Tk 1,682 crore.
Of it, two kilometres would be completely new, establishing direct connectivity between Dhaka and Shariatpur.
Planning ministry officials said this road project would help agricultural produce of Shariatpur and adjoining regions reach Dhaka.
Including the four, a total of nine projects worth Tk 13,639 crore were passed in the Ecnec meeting.