Coming now is another mega-project for Dhaka's transport troubleshooting as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Tuesday asked for assessing possibility of building an elevated circular road around the capital city for easing traffic tantrums.
She issuer the direction while presiding over the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting, which endorsed another slew of development projects costing a total of Tk Tk75.89 billion.
The instruction came when the government's highest economic-policy body was approving the 'Construction of relevant infrastructure for protecting the Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakhya and Balu Rivers phase-2 (1st revised) project' enhancing its cost by Tk 3.32 billion.
Officials said Tuesday's ECNEC meeting endorsed a total of eight development projects involving a combined cost of Tk75.89 billion, along with the river-protection one.
After the meeting was over, Planning Minister MA Mannan told reporters that the premier instructed the authorities concerned to assess the possibility of constructing elevated circular road around the capital city for reducing the traffic pressure on the roads inside.
"It could be a good idea. We hope the government agency concerned will assess the feasibility of the circular way," he said.
People in Dhaka still face nagging traffic jams despite a few flyovers build to divert crumbling traffic from roads. An overhead metro rail across the city and an elevated expressway connecting its northern suburb are under construction. A route-franchise plan also remained virtually stuck.
Meanwhile, the ECNEC revised the 'Construction of relevant infrastructure for protecting the Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakhya and Balu Rivers phase-2 (first revised) project enhancing the cost by Tk 3.32 billion to Tk 11.81 billion.
Under the project, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) is building walkways, jetties, ghats, border pillars and walls, parking yards, drainage, roads etc, Mr Mannan said.
Meanwhile, the Planning Minister said, out of the total Tk75.89 billion cost of eight projects, Tk 50.09 billion would be financed from government's internal resources while the rest Tk25.80 billion from external resources in project aid.
The ECNEC also approved a Tk 43-billion project for grooming Bangladesh's young workforce, especially women and disadvantaged sections, for enabling them to get suitable jobs.
Under the 'Accelerating and Strengthening Skills for Economic Transformation (ASSET) project' the Department of Technical Education would develop workforce, especially youth, women and underprivileged, for suitable jobs.
"The World Bank-supported ASSET project would help in developing suitable manpower as the country has a lack of skills among the workforce," Mr Mannan said
State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina termed this project very time-befitting in order to properly reap "demographic dividend" of the country.
The ASSET project will equip more than one million youths and workers with skills need for the jobs of the future. The project will also help accelerate recovery from the pandemic by supporting industries to retrain their workers.
The ECNEC meeting also approved a Tk 11.42-billion project to construct some 3,040 residential flats for the cleaning workers of 66 municipalities across the country.
Planning Minister Mr Mannan said the premier asked the authorities not to charge rents from the cleaning workers rather claim a minimum operational cost for residing in those buildings.
The PM also asked people not to pollute rivers through dumping industrial and household wastes, he said.
She also suggested installing goods scanner and body scanner machines at the Hilly, Burimari and Banglabandha LC stations, Dr Alam said.
The other projects approved in the meeting are Construction of physical
infrastructures at Hily, Burimari and Banglabandha LC Stations at Tk 806.1 million, Construction of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre, Rangpur, at Tk 4.17 billion, Strengthening capacity of regional lentil research center in Madaripur and boosting production of lentils in greater Barishal and Faridpur regions at Tk1.68 billion, Development of reclaimed land from the River Jamuna in Sirajganj and thus protecting proposed economic zone (first revised) at an additional cost of Tk 1.28 billion and Rehabilitation of polder no. 15 of Satkhira district at Tk 10.20 billion.