The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) today approved a total of four projects involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 534.34 crore, including a new scheme for conservation and development of local species of fish and snails with Taka 202.04 crore.
The approval came from a meeting of the ECNEC held with its Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The premier along with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and Planning Minister MA Mannan joined the meeting virtually from her official Ganobhaban residence while the ministers, state ministers and others concerned joined the meeting from the NEC Conference room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, the planning minister said, “A total of four projects were approved today involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 534.34 crore. Of the total project cost, Taka 440.94 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh while the rest Taka 93.40 crore as project loan.”
Of the approved four projects, one is new while three others are revised projects.
Mannan said the main objectives of the project for preservation of local fish species and snails are to protect, preserve and thus boost the production of local fish species alongside snails.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was highly excited over the incorporation of snails in this project as she mentioned that slacked lime (Chun) is prepared from snail shells which is usually consumed with betel leaf and also is a source of calcium.
Mannan said the premier was also optimistic about the cultivation of oysters as pearls are being extracted from those.
“The larger and ultimate goal of the government is to preserve the local species,” he added.
The Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock will implement the project by June 2024 at some 49 upazilas under 10 districts of the South-Western region of the country.
The main project objectives include raising the internal water bodies fish production of those areas to 4.46 lakh metric tons from 3.83 lakh metric tons, holding some 392 local fish species farming exhibitions alongside 15 snail exhibitions, holding some 110 paddy field fish farming demonstrations alongside 392 fish farming demonstrations at pans and capacity development of some 1,08,847 beneficiaries.
Planning Commission member Md Zakir Hossain Akand said once the project is implemented, it would help boost the production of snails in the country alongside saving the sweet water fishes from extinction. He informed that this is for the first time a project has been undertaken incorporating snails.
He mentioned that fish sanctuaries would be created under the project while some pilot projects would also be undertaken under this project.
Regarding the approval of the Urban Resilience Project (URP): RAJUK portion, 1st revised with an additional cost of Taka 106.75 crore, the planning minister said a map will be prepared for Dhaka under the project through which it would be possible to know which areas are more prone to disasters like earthquakes.
He said with the latest revision, the capacity of RAJUK would be further enhanced alongside others concerned so that any possible earthquake could be faced in a much better way.
About the 1st revision of the Infrastructural Development of Rajshahi University with an additional cost of Taka 147.12 crore, the Planning Minister said the project would help meet the accommodation problem of the female students at the university with the construction of new halls. Besides, emphasis is being given on the project to strengthen the infrastructures of science and agriculture faculties.
The day’s ECNEC meeting also approved the 2nd revise of the approach road widening and development of other necessary infrastructures of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Safari Park, Gazipur with an additional cost of Taka 78.43 crore.
The planning minister said the entrance of the Safari Park is now narrow and it would be further widened through acquisition of necessary land. “We want to upgrade this Safari Park and make it more modern and beautiful.