PM for speedily repairing damaged embankments due to ‘Remal’

Publish: 8:51 PM, May 28, 2024 | Update: 8:51 PM, May 28, 2024

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked the authorities concerned to speedily repair the damaged embankments in the coastal areas due to the recent tropical cyclone “Remal” that lashed the country.

The Premier gave the directive while chairing the 10th meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) held today at the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister Major General (Retd) Abdus Salam said the Prime Minister in the meeting asked the authorities concerned to speedily repair the damaged embankments in the coastal areas owing to the impact of the cyclone “Remal”.

State Minister for Planning Md Shahiduzzaman Sarker, Planning Division Senior Secretary Satyajit Karmakar, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present at the briefing.

“The damaged embankments must be repaired speedily as monsoon is approaching,” Salam said quoting the Premier.

He informed that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also directed for ensuring safe water in the affected areas so that water-borne diseases could not spread.

Abdus Salam said the premier herself monitored the cyclone situation throughout that night and gave necessary directives to the concerned agencies for tackling the situation.

He said the state minister for Disaster Management and Relief informed the ECNEC meeting that the loss of lives was less in the cyclone since all the government agencies, district and upazila administrations were cautious enough to face the situation.

Planning Division Senior Secretary Satyajit Karmakar said the day’s ECNEC meeting approved a total of 11 projects involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 14,337.38 crore. “Of the total project cost, Taka 6,541.52 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh portion, Taka 7,879.15 crore from the development partners while Taka 83.29 crore from the concerned organisation’s own fund,” he added.

Of the approved 11 projects, eight are new while three are revised projects.

Turning to the cyclone “Remal”, Satyajit said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina monitored the cyclone situation intensively all throughout and thus gave necessary directives to the field-level officials at district and upazila level to deal with the situation in a coordinated manner.

The Prime Minister reminded of all the concerned officials and stakeholders to keep operative the land phones alongside the mobile phone networks in such calamities, he added.

Sheikh Hasina also directed the government officials irrespective of their portfolios to stand beside the affected people of the tropical cyclole “Remal”.

The Premier also asked the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief to assess the loss of lives and properties in the cyclone “Remal” (verifying media reports if needed) and thus publish its brief by next Sunday.

Satyajit said the ECNEC meeting today approved two separate cluster projects for the benefits of the forcibly displayed Rohingya people and the host communities in the Chattogram Division.

These two projects are–Host and Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN)/Displaced Rohingya Population (DRP) Enhancement of Lives Through a Multi-Sectoral Approach Project (HELP): Infrastructure Related Project with Taka 4,081.84 crore where the World Bank would provide Taka 2,329.89 crore as loan and Taka 1,485 crore as grant.

The another project is Inclusive Services and Opportunities (ISO) for Host Communities and FDMN Populations Project with Taka 4,401.13 crore where the World Bank will provide Taka 2,145.38 crore as loan and Taka 1,759.37 crore as grant.

For the first time, these aforesaid two projects were approved by the Prime Minister through Project Planning System (PPS) software which would eventually infuse more dynamism into the operations of the Planning Commission as well as make those time-bound, Satyajit continued.

He said the premier asked all concerned officials involved in the execution of these two projects to think ‘out of the box’ and exercise their innovations to successfully implement those through facing possible challenges and obstacles.

The Planning Division Senior Secretary further said that the World Bank would provide the grant amount for the Rohingya people while the loan amount would be spent in the areas of health, education, roads, forestry, railways for the benefits of the host community since they are also affected for the forcibly
displaced Rohingya people.

He said at the very beginning of the negotiations with the World Bank for availing support, the lending agency only pressed for lending support to the Rohingyas, not for the host community. But, due to the strong stance of the government, the World Bank later agreed to support the host community also alongside the Rohingyas.

Satyajit also informed that the World Bank loan would be very soft.

He informed that a central coordination unit would be there at the Economic Relations Division (ERD) for these two projects for Rohingyas and the host community while a committee headed by Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary would oversee the operations.

When asked whether the fresh Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the next fiscal year (FY25) is loan-based, Satyajit said neither the country’s economy, nor the fresh ADP is loan-based.

He said despite various challenges and adversities, the budget deficit of the country never crossed five percent of GDP.

Replying to another question, the Planning Minister said Bangladesh has been witnessing balanced development during the rule of Awami League government.

Since the present government put much emphasis on implementation, he said a record number of 356 projects are going to be completed within this fiscal year ending in June.

The other projects approved in the meeting are– Embankment protection work to avert erosion in various areas of Karnaphuli River and its adjacent canals under Boalkhali upazila in Chattogram district with Taka 134.09 crore, Sustainable water management at Bashkhali and Anwara upazilas in South Chattogram (first phase) with Taka 874.57 crore, Construction of modern steel silo with capacity of 48,000 tonnes at Mohadebpur upazila in Naogaon district with Taka 367.52 crore, Rural infrastructural development of Rajshahi, Natore and Chapainawabganj districts with Taka 2,100 crore, Technical Assistance for Repurposing Agricultural Public Support Towards a Sustainable Food System Transformation in Bangladesh (TARAPS) with Taka 180.50 crore, Procurement of 35 commercial and eight ancillary vessels for BIWTC and construction of two new slipways, second revised with an additional cost of Taka 518.96 crore, Upgrading Cumilla-Lalmai-Chandpur-Lakshmipur-Begumganj (R-140) and Begumganj-Sonaimuri-Ramganj regional highway into four-lane, second revised with an additional cost of Taka 1,679.32 crore, Cox’s Bazar Airport Development (first phase), fourth revised with an additional cost of Taka 129.69 crore, Establishment of water treatment plant and deep tube well at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpi Nagar, second revised with an additional cost of Taka 129.14 crore.