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‘Launching workshops’ of two LGED projects held

Staff Correspondent: A joint grand launching workshop of the two projects was held at Kamrul Islam Siddiqui Auditorium in LGED Bhaban. Minister for Local Government Rural Development and Cooperatives Tajul Islam spoke in the opening session of the workshop as the chief guest. Ichiguchi Tomohide, Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh Office, Dr. Muhammed Sher Ali, Additional Secretary (Development) of Local Government Department spoke as the special guests. Chief Engineer of Local Government Engineering Department Md. Ali Akhtar Hossain presided over the function. Additional Chief Engineer Muzakka Jaher delivered the welcome address on the occasion. Project Director of LGED’s SCRIDP project Abdus Sattar and Project Director of LGED’s IUGIP project Abdul Barek also spoke in the workshop. LGED officials, mayors and officials of different municipalities under the project area, LGED officials and project consultants at the field level were present on the occasion.

The two projects are- South Chattogram Regional Development Project and Urban Management and Infrastructure Development Project. The first project in Matarbari area of Maheshkhali Upazila in Cox’s Bazar is part of the Big-B development strategy of the Japanese government to develop South and Southeast Asia with Bangladesh at the center. The objective of the project is to develop basic infrastructure for the residence and civic facilities of the large number of workers who will gather in the area as a result of the extensive development of about 35 projects including power projects, deep sea ports under the ‘Maheshkhali-Matarbari Integrated Development Initiative’ fast track project.

Apart from this, the project also includes the construction of various infrastructures to deal with the humanitarian crisis caused by Rohingya refugees and local residents due to the sheltering of Rohingya refugees coming to Teknaf, Ukhia from the neighboring country. All these infrastructures will be constructed in Maheshkhali Upazila and Municipality, Chakoria Upazila and Municipality, Teknaf Upazila and Municipality, and Ukhia and Cox’s Bazar Sadar Upazila. The expenditure for this has been estimated at Tk 3,644 crores of which 68.5% will be completed by JICA ODA loan assistance and 31.5% by Bangladesh Government’s own financing. The money will be spent on construction of roads, bridge-culverts, markets, parks, cyclone shelters, township development, installation of deep tubewells for water supply, development of waste management, construction of infrastructure for primary drains and flood control and irrigation facilities, capacity building and development of municipalities and LGEDs.

The project received administrative approval in May 2023 and is scheduled to be completed by December 2028. For the infrastructure development of the project, the loan is taken in terms of repayment period of 30 years with 10 years’ grace period under JICA loan facility at 0.7% interest rate.

The second project is Urban Management and Infrastructure Development Project. This project will be implemented with the financial support of ADB and donor agency AFD. A planned, inclusive, and sustainable urbanization is the objective of the project. For this, infrastructure development and management efficiency will be increased through ‘result based lending’ strategy in 63 municipalities across the country. The operation and maintenance activities of 25 municipalities have also been taken up. The financial cost for this has been estimated at $ 602 million. Out of which Bangladesh government will provide financial assistance of $100 million, ADB $302 million and AFD $200 million.

The project received approval on June 20, 2023 and is scheduled to be completed by 30 June 2028. At least 900 km of drains, 1500 km of roads will be constructed under this project. The development of poor settlements will also be ensured through the participation of 50% women in the municipality in the construction work. The work of the project is already progressing. A work order of 800 crores has been given by inviting tenders for works of Tk 1100 crores. The Minister, LGED Chief Engineer and members of the donor agencies expressed their satisfactions over the progress of the project.

Special guests from ADB, FDA emphasized on inclusive development. Referring to the construction of infrastructure for the poor in the IUGIP project, they said the sustainable development is not possible by keeping them out of development facilities. Besides, they also mentioned that development of management system and construction of climate tolerant projects are prerequisites for sustainable development.

JICA representative thanked the LGED Chief Engineer for organizing the event. He said it is an important project. He emphasized on expediting the land acquisition process, high quality of work, regular monitoring and timely completion of projects. The Chief Engineer thanked all the donor agencies and urged them to continue their cooperation. He said that LGED is optimistic about the successful completion of this project according to its capabilities.

LGRD Minister Tajul Islam said that the government has to return the loan they it takes. If the loan is not used properly, the country will face losses. Therefore, he urged LGED to ensure quality of work, timely completion of projects and construction of productive infrastructure. Later, the Minister inaugurated the two projects.

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