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Bangladesh - January 9, 2023

WB loan for climate projects decreasing

Mahfuja Mukul: In an ongoing project of climate services, the loan of the World Bank is reduced by Tk 247.75 crore. The total cost of the project titled ‘Strengthening Weather Information Service and Early Warning’ is also reduced by Tk 263 crore. The project is being implemented by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD).
According to related sources, the cost of the original project was Tk 520.15 crore. Out of this, World Bank loan was Tk 462.93 crore. The remaining Tk 57.22 crore was supposed to be met from the government treasury.
In the first revised project, the cost was reduced to Tk 300.72 crore, the debt of the World Bank was reduced to Tk 247.21 crore. In the second revised project, the expenditure further reduced to Tk 257.06 crore. The loan of the World Bank in the project is reduced to Tk 215.18 crore. As a result, the total debt of the World Bank is reduced by Tk 247.75 crore.
BMD has sent such a proposal to the Planning Commission to reduce the cost of the project.
According to the Planning Commission sources, the main project was approved in the meeting for implementation from July 2016 to June 2021 at a total cost of Tk 520.15 crore. Subsequently, the project was sent to the Planning Commission for the 1st amendment as it was necessary to re-estimate the cost of some works/add new works and extend the implementation period by one year and 6 months in order to complete the project at the implementation stage.
The planning minister approved the 1st amendment proposal setting the cost of the project at Tk 300.72 crore and the implementation period till December 2022.
This time, the cost of the project has been reduced by another Tk 43.66 crore, and the proposal has been sent to the Planning Commission, setting a period of Tk 257.06 crore and fixing the period till December 2023.
The Physical Infrastructure Division of the Planning Commission will hold the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) meeting on the recommendation of the BMD. A PEC meeting on the project was scheduled for last Wednesday (January 4). But Dr Satyajit Karmakar, a member of the Physical Infrastructure Department, has been transferred as Secretary of the Planning Department Dr Mohammad Emdad Ullah Mianhas been appointed as a new member. Now the new date of PEC meeting will be given.
In this regard, the deputy head of the physical infrastructure department of the Planning Commission deleted. Nadira Akhtar said that BMD has sent some revision proposals for the project. PEC meeting will be held on the proposal of BMD. We once gave a date for a PEC meeting. But the member (secretary) has changed. A new date will be given again.
Regarding the revision of the project, he said that there will be some changes in the project. The World Bank loan will also be reduced under the project. Besides, the scope of some works of the project will also increase. The work of the project was disrupted due to Corona. Due to these reasons, the duration of the project will also increase.
Reasons for project revisions
The project has several international package procurement resources. Due to the disruption of international supply chain operations in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the suppliers have not been able to deliver goods on time. As the foreign engineers and technical experts involved could not come to Bangladesh on time due to travel restrictions, it was not possible to complete the product installation and training program of the described package as per the plan.
Non-objection of World Bank
No objection was found for the data sharing software to share info between BMD and stakeholders, development of numerical model guidance and preparation of prediction using, develop national framework of climate service and consultancy and research program packages from the project implementation unit World Bank. It is not possible to buy these packages and implement them during the remaining time of the project.
Main activities: Providing all information services related to agricultural meteorology to the doorsteps of marginal farmers with the help of the Directorate of Agricultural Extension through the installation of automatic agricultural weather instruments in total 200 upazilas with the central network of the Meteorological Department across the country.
35 traditional observatories of Meteorological Department existing across the country will be converted into automatic meteorological observatories. International exchange of information and data obtained from these observatories through software. In four divisional cities (Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna) 65 automatic rain gauges will be installed in WASA office premises to provide necessary information for urban flood control.
Installation of state-of-the-art meteorological equipment as per International Civil Aviation Organization guidelines at three international airports (Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet). This will help Civil Aviation Authority in safe takeoff and landing of aircraft. The Global Telecommunication Switching System will be modernized to share meteorological data worldwide.
Installation of 11 international standard portable hydrogen gas generators for collection of upper space weather data through balloons. ICT equipment will be installed in each observatory of the department. Metrological Information and Communication Station Geographical Information System will be established along with development of internet and local area network system of the Directorate.
The objective of the project is to reduce the risk of weather and climate-related disasters by increasing the capacity of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department to provide more accurate and early forecasts and warnings. Also, the main objective of this project is to improve the quality of climate services for the priority sectors agriculture, aviation, water resources planning, renewable energy, disaster management, sports, tourism, transport and other related stakeholders.
One of the objectives of the project is to set up Archive System and Forecast Production System, Climate Database Management System.
Weather offices in Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Rangpur and Barisal cities will be renovated to make them suitable for use of workstations and ICT equipment. Capacity building of departmental staff through local and international training. Installation of necessary software and mobile apps for the purpose of sending weather information, data, warnings, bulletins, reports etc. to concerned individuals, institutions and communities.

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