Cost of Tk 3.5 b saved
Mahfuz Emran: Finally, the government backed down from shortening the Jamuna river. The Ministry of Water Resources had planned to shorten this river to 6.5 kilometers under the Delta Plan.
But in the face of various criticisms including a writ in the High Court, that decision has been dropped for the time being. However, in the face of the objections of the Planning Commission regarding the various expenses of the project which is currently being taken up, the cost has been reduced by about Tk 3.5 billion. But there are still about 17 types of consultants in the project.
These will be spent under the project ‘Jamuna River Sustainable Management Project-1: Riverbank Conservation and River Governance’. The World Bank is lending for its implementation. In addition, AIIB and the Government of the Netherlands will provide grants. The project was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) last Tuesday. News from related sources.
When asked about the project, the state minister for Planning Shamsul Alam said that there is a need for such a project. This project is being taken up to implement the Delta Plan. It will be implemented as planned. It is better not to think negatively about these things.
According to sources, an expenditure of around Tk 1,200 crore was proposed for the implementation of the project. But the Planning Commission objected to various expenses in the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) meeting held on February 6. As a result, the expenditure now stands at Tk 873.27 crore.
Out of this, Tk 187.11 crore will be spent from government funds, Tk 573 crore foreign loans and Tk 112.44 crore from foreign grants. It will be implemented by the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) between this year and 2027.
AKM Fazlul Haque, Member (Secretary) of the Planning Commission’s Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Institutions Department asked to know about these issues. He told that it is not a matter of shortening the river. This is a misconception. The way the Jamuna river has spread and caused extensive damage due to erosion. It needs to be brought in a safe. This can be seen later if needed.
He said that by objecting in the PEC meeting, about Tk 3.5 billion have been saved from the additional expenditure of the government. Although some expenses have been excluded since the World Bank has low-interest loans, the allocation has been kept as a lump sum. Besides, this is entirely a research project. In one word it can be called a pilot project. After seeing the results from here, big projects will be taken up with the help of the World Bank.
According to sources, in the PEC meeting held earlier, the Planning Commission said how many years it will take to narrow the Jamuna river within 6.5 kilometers according to Delta Plan-2100. Besides, what kind of impact will the implementation of the project have on the ground water, agriculture, fisheries and biodiversity and ecology of the area. It should be added to the DPP (Development Project Proposal).
Along with this, it is sought to know whether there will be any adverse impact on the downstream environment of Yamuna River and other structures including Jamuna Bridge and Padma Bridge. In response to these questions, the Water Development Board has said that there is no plan to constrict the Jamuna river under the project.
Under this, resources have been kept for preparation of river management master plan. Future strategies, action plans and infrastructure plans will be developed in the light of the recommendations of the Master Plan. It is also said that consulting firm Ahoudec Geographic Limited and government agency CEGIS have conducted a feasibility study.
The final survey report submitted by them does not mention any adverse effects anywhere. However, more detailed surveys and environmental and social impact assessments are planned for later stages of the project.
According to PEC meeting sources, the Planning Commission objected to various expenditure proposals in the meeting. In this context, the proposal of Tk 126 crore for dredging at Groen construction site has been excluded from the project. Besides, Tk 53.29 million has been deducted for the construction of the village platform and security of the platform with Jio Bag. Tk 139 crore has been eliminated by reducing the cost of consulting sector.
International River Research Institute construction and maintenance sector Tk 31.35 crore has been waived. Apart from this, Tk 2.32 crore has been deducted in the purchase of motor vehicle and watercraft.
According to sources, under the project, the cost of the master’s degree in river management for the two has been estimated at Tk 89.45 lakh. Tk 3.06 crore has been earmarked separately for foreign travel sector to gain various experiences. In the PEC meeting, questions were raised about the expenditure on the consultancy sector. As a result, the proposed amount was reduced to Tk 139 crore from Tk 219 crore. There are now 17 sector consultancy expenditure proposals.
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