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ECNEC approves revision of Padma Bridge cost

The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved a revision to raise the cost of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge construction at a cost of Taka 2412.13 crore and also extending the timeframe till June 2024.

The approval came from a meeting of the ECNEC chaired by its chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e Banglanagar area.

“A total of 15 projects were placed before today’s meeting. Of them, 12 projects were passed and two projects were deferred. And the rest one got time extension,” said Planning Minister MA Mannan while briefing reporters after the meeting. State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present at the briefing.

Of the 12 approved projects, eight are new ones and the rest four are revised projects.

The overall estimated cost of the 12 projects is Taka 19,598.84 crore. Only additional costs of four revised projects were estimated.

“Out of the total estimated cost, Taka 13,203.66 crore will come from the foreign sources as project assistance, Taka 6,260.72 crore from the government of Bangladesh while the rest Taka 134.46 crore from the fund of an organisation concerned,” said Planning Secretary Satyajit Karmaker.

Explaining the reasons behind the 3rd revision and rise in cost of Padma Multipurpose Bridge Construction Project, member of Physical Infrastructure Division of the Planning Commission Dr Mohammad Emdad Ullah Mian said the VAT rate has risen to 15 percent now from 10 percent as well as the prices of construction materials for river training and the price of dollar went high.

As per the project documents, the main work of Padma Bridge project has already been completed. But, now the revision of the project is required to complete the remaining ancillary works and the payment of contractors’ dues. So, the project can be approved under this consideration.

In terms of cost, the largest three new projects approved in the ECNEC meeting are “Programme on Agricultural and Rural Transformation for Nutrition, Entrepreneurship and Resilience in Bangladesh Project,” with an estimated cost of Taka 6,910.94 crore; “Bangladesh Road Safety Project” with Taka 4,988.14 crore; and “Procurement of 2 Crude Oil Mother Tankers and 2 Mother Bulk Carrier Ships on the basis of G2G Project” with Taka 2,620.77 crore.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed the authorities concerned to ensure necessary facilities in the country’s jails to run the virtual court.

She gave this directive during the discussion about the first revision of Reconstruction of Mymensingh Central Jail Project which was approved with an additional cost of Taka 112.54 crore.