Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday directed again that major highways should be brought under toll as the Executive Committee of the National Council approved the upgrade of the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway at a cost of Tk 1,6918.59 crore.
She also praised the Department of Agriculture Extension for taking a project for cultivating cashew nuts and coffee in the country to meet the demand of growing consumption.
The ECNEC approved the cultivation of cashew nuts and coffee project having provisions of training at local and foreign levels at a cost of over Tk 10 crore amid criticisms that bureaucrats go for pleasure trips on the pretext of foreign training.
At a briefing from the planning commission in the afternoon, planning minister MA Mannan disclosed the outcomes of the ECNEC meeting presided over by the PM from her official residence Gana Bhaban.
MA Mannan said that the PM asked the Roads and Highways Department to take necessary measures to include the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway under toll network.
Since 2019, the PM has been emphasising imposition of road tolls to meet the cost of the maintenance of roads and highways.
Some Tk 1,344.69 crore will be borrowed from the Asian Development Bank and the rest of Tk 3673.96 crore will be provided by the government to upgrade the Dhaka-Sylhet highway by 2026, he added.
Answering a question whether the projected construction cost of Tk 81 crore for each kilometre is very high, planning ministry officials attending the briefing replied in negative.
The government conceived of the project much earlier but could not implement it due to lack of foreign loans.
The DAE will implement the cultivation of cashew and coffee at a cost of Tk 211 crore by 2025 with the aim of expanding their cultivation on 6,000 hectares from current 2000.
Under the projects 58 officials and scientists in seven batches would be sent for abroad for training and 50 officials in five batches will hold exposure visits.
The PM also directed Payra Sea Port Authority to submit port development updates in the next ECNEC meeting.
She gave the order while approving the first revision to the construction of a terminal and ancillary facilities under the port by Tk 534.65 crore. to Tk 4,516.76 crore.
The ECNEC also approved revision of two more projects.
They were modernisation of the Sylhet Centre of Bangladesh Betar with an additional cost of Tk 31.07 crore and second revision of river bank protection on both sides from erosion of the Halda River at Hathazari and Rouzan upazilas in Chattogram with an additional cost of Tk 105.97 crore.
Four other new projects were approved in the meeting.
They were network development and expansion of internet protocol of Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited at Tk 945.90 crore; West Gopalganj water management project (1st phase) at Tk 135.51 crore; protecting Daulatkhan upazila in Bhola from the Meghna erosion at Tk 522.56 crore and installation of nutrition gardens at barren lands around homes at Tk 438.47 crore.
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