The government has approved a Tk 319.23 crore project to improve road safety, including traffic infrastructures development, as well as reducing traffic congestion in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) areas.
The approval came from the 13th Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) meeting of the current fiscal year, held virtually with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The premier joined the meeting from her official Gono Bhaban residence through videoconferencing while other Ecnec members were connected from the NEC conference room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Three projects at a cost of Tk 5,189.69 crore of two ministries were approved in the meeting, said Planning Division Senior Secretary Md Ashadul Islam while briefing reporters after the meeting.
Among these, two are revised projects and the rest one is fresh, he said.
Of the total cost, Ashadul said Tk 2,270.76 will come as project assistance while the rest from the government.
Talking about the project titled "Road Safety including Improvement of Traffic Infrastructures in Dhaka North City Corporation Areas," Planning Commission Member Md Mamun-al-Rashid said the DNCC will implement the project by June 2023 with an estimated cost of Tk 319.23 crore.
The major project operations include development of 13.68km road, construction of 9.05km roadside drain and 6.58km pipe drain, development of 26.58km footpath, 7.74km road median, installation of 22.77km MS grill fencing, 22.31km SS grill fencing and 1,710 traffic signs, construction of 50 passenger camps and 36 new foot-over bridges, development of 47 such bridges, and installation of 17 escalators with them.
Md Ashadul Islam said though it was proposed that DNCC will finance Tk 63.85 crore for the project, the prime minister directed to finance the project fully from the government fund.
Sheikh Hasina also asked the local government bodies, including city corporations, to enhance their capacity gradually to execute development projects with their own revenues in future.
The Ecnec meeting also cleared the first revision of "SASEC Road Connectivity Project-II: Elenga-Hatikamrul-Rangpur Highway Four-Lane Upgradation" project increasing the cost by Tk 4,763.37 crore and extending the timeframe till December 2024 instead of August 2021.
The overall project cost has now increased to Tk 16,662.38 crore from the original outlay of Tk 11,899.01 crore, which was scheduled to be implemented from September 2015 to August 2021.
Mamun-Al-Rashid said the cost has been increased mainly for the land acquisition as the compensation against land value was made three times as per the Acquisition and Requisition of Immovable Property Act, 2017.
The cost against the land acquisition witnessed a rise by Tk 2,253.16 crore and that against the resettlement by Tk 226.70 crore.
Besides, the ECNEC endorsed the 2nd revision of Development of Sonapur (Noakhali)-Sonagazi (Feni)-Zorarganj (Chattogram) Road Project, increasing the cost by Tk 107.09 crore and extending the timeframe till June 2021.
The project cost has increased to Tk 293.05 crore from Tk 185.96 crore in the first revised one and Tk 172.65 crore in the original project.
Mamun-Al-Rashid said the project cost has been raised also mainly for the rise in compensations against land acquisition.
Noting that the legal complexities often cause the delay in implementation of development projects in some cases, she asked the ministries concerned to take prompt measures to dispose of the legal cases related to the projects, if any.
Hasina said if any project official is transferred before it is finished, the new officer should get an orientation over it so that the project implementation is not hampered.