Bangladesh government on Tuesday approved allocation of Bangladeshi Taka 88.5 billion [above $1 billion] for seven projects to ensure safe water across the country of around 170 million people, according to report of the state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency.
The approval came at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) with its Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Briefing the reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that a total of seven projects were approved today involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 110.42 billion.
“All the seven projects cost will come from the government,” he said, adding that of the approved seven projects, six are new while another one is a revised project.
He added: "The today approved a Taka 8,850.74 crore [Taka 88.51 billion] project to ensure safe water across the country."
The planning minister said the Department of Public Health and Engineering under the Ministry of LGRD will implement the safe drinking water supply project by June 2025.
According to an October 2018 report of the World Bank, 98 percent of Bangladesh’s population have access to water from technologically improved water sources but E. coli bacteria was present in 80 percent of private piped-water taps as well as ponds across the country.
The Planning Minister, however, said once the project is implemented, it would be possible to ensure safe water supply in the rural areas.
The main project operations include setting up of some 90636 non deep tube wells and 1,23,877 deep tube wells, installation of some 2,06,664 submersible pumps and non-deep tube wells and 1,70,222 submersible pumps and deep tube wells with reservoirs, 3,379 ring wells, 3,210 rain water harvesting units, rolling out of some 491 rural piped water supply schemes, erecting of some 320 solar PSF, some 29570 arsenic iron removal plants and some 8838 community based water supply units.
Revealing the implementation status of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the July-December period of the current fiscal year, Mannan said the executing agencies could spend Taka 56,712.57 crore during the first six months of current fiscal with an implementation rate of 26.36 percent.
The ADP implementation rate during the July-December period of the last fiscal year was 27.45 percent with an expenditure of Taka 49,644.80 crore.
The planning minister said the government is not at all worried about the implementation status of the ADP as the implementing agencies could spend more amount in the current fiscal compared to the previous fiscal.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the meeting asked the authorities concerned including the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges and local administrations so that no sand quarrying takes place just beneath the bridges or adjacent to the pillars of the bridges.
The prime minister also stressed the need for giving more importance on surface water and rain water harvesting through cutting dependency on underground water, Mannan said.
The premier also suggested auctioning the old and dilapidated Bailey bridges which are now not needed as well as to replace those with new bridges, he said.
Referring to the approval of today’s four transport sector projects, Mannan said the government would gradually upgrade all the inter-district highways into four lanes alongside increasing the thickness and strength of other roads.
Besides, the old and dilapidated bridges would be replaced with new ones, he added.
The other projects approved in the meeting are – Increasing the road embankment height, pavement reconstruction and widening at Singra portion on Singra-Gurudaspur-Chatmohar road with an expense of Taka 135.71 crore, Upgrading Puthia-Baghmara Highway into due standard and width with Taka 130.83 crore, Some 3.765 kilometers River Bank embankment permanent protection work to protect the Doarika Bridge from the erosion of River Sugandha with Taka 283.52 crore, Replacing the existing Bailey and RCC Bridges (Dhaka Zone) at narrow and important points with Taka 1190.78 crore, Establishment of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre, Barishal with Taka 412 crore and Extension of Narsingdi BSCIC Industrial Estate, 1st revised, with an additional cost of Taka 38.56 crore.
Ministers and State Ministers attended the meeting while Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present.