The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved a Tk 59.05 billion project to maintain the rural road network by rehabilitating the roads, bridges and culverts destroyed by cyclone Amphan, excessive rains and floods.
The approval came from the weekly Ecnec meeting held with its Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban. The ministers, state ministers and secretaries concerned joined it from the NEC conference room.
Planning Division Senior Secretary Md Ashadul Islam briefed reporters virtually after the meeting.
He said the Ecnec meeting approved a total of five projects involving an overall estimated cost of Tk 75.05 billion.
Planning Commission Member Md Zakir Hossain Akand said the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), under the Local Government Division, will implement the project by December 2023 titled 'Rehabilitation of affected rural road infrastructures due to cyclone Amphan and Flood' in 355 upazilas under 55 districts.
Considering the extent of damages caused by the cyclone Amphan and the recent floods, he said, the project has been formulated to rehabilitate the affected rural roads, culverts and bridges.
The project aims to reduce the transportation cost and time through ensuring a sustainable road maintenance system, simplifying the marketing system of various products and produce, generating more rural jobs and thus keeping the rural economy moving.
The project areas cover cyclone Amphan-affected 69 upazilas under 14 districts of Khulna, Barishal, Chattogram and Dhaka divisions, flood-affected 182 upazilas under 28 districts of Rangpur, Rajshahi, Khulna, Dhaka, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Chattogram divisions.
The project areas also cover 139 upazilas under 22 districts of Rajshahi, Khulna, Dhaka, Mymensingh and Chattogram divisions which were affected due to excessive rains.
The main project operations include rehabilitation of some 2388.34 km upazila roads, rehabilitation of some 2274.68 km union roads, rehabilitation of 78km RCC roads, reconstruction of some 268 bridges with a cumulative length of 4631.85 metres, reconstruction of 239 culverts with a cumulative length of 692.37 metres and tree plantation along 328km roads.
Besides, there will be construction of some 5,000km upazila roads, some 8,000km of union roads and 12,000km of rural roads as well as construction of 1,40,000 metres of bridges and culverts on upazila and union roads. Apart from these, there will be construction of 50,000 metres of bridges and culverts on village roads.
Ashadul Islam said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the meeting asked the authorities concerned to complete the works on Amphan-affected roads in a quicker way in coordination with other ministries and divisions so that there is no overlapping of works.
PM for Checking Riverbank Erosion
The Prime Minister stressed that the main strategy for checking river erosion should be to keep the usual flow of water through conducting capital dredging and maintenance dredging.
Ashadul said she once again underscored the need for identifying the quicksand in rivers and thus removing those through dredging as well as creating buffer zones for preserving water.
She also asked the relevant line ministries to have the focus so that river silts do not block the usual flow of water.
Hasina also directed the ministries concerned, including the Local Government Division, to make sure the quality of works with top quality bitumen and ensuring that water does not remain stagnant on roads for a long time.
He said that Sheikh Hasina also instructed to prepare a master plan for rural roads and infrastructures with the Local Government Division as the lead Division.
Ecnec also approved a project for protecting Gobindi and Holdia areas under Saghata upazila and Katalmari area under Fulchari upazila of Gaibandha district from erosion on the right embankment of the Jamuna River with Tk 7.98 billion and Rural Infrastructures Development Project: Barishal, Jhalakathi and Pirojpur districts with an additional cost of Tk 3.05 billion.