The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday approved 13 projects worth Tk 12,460 crore, one of which is on a special economic zone in Chattogram's Mirsarai for Indian investors.
The project approval came at the regular meeting of the Ecnec at the planning ministry office in Dhaka with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The Ecnec approved a project involving Tk 845 crore to acquire 1,000 acres of land in Chattogram's Mirsarai for Indian investors. The Mirsarai economic zone will be developed with funds from a third line of credit of $4.5 billion from India. The disbursement of the fund has not started yet.
Besides, Bangladesh is going to set up two more economic zones for Indian investors in Mongla and Bheramara.
After the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan told reporters at a briefing that the government has been allocating the special economic zones for investors of different countries like Japan and China to attract more foreign direct investment.
So, there will also be a special economic zone for Indian investors, the minister said.
He said to have instructed the authorities concerned to refrain from acquiring land through the eviction of locals when the economic zone's construction starts.
The area selected for the Indian investors in Mirsarai is empty and has no habitat yet. The Ecnec also approved 50 percent additional allowance for 369 specialised officials, including scientists employed at the Rooppur nuclear power plant.
The nuclear power plant project is worth Tk 113,092 crore and is scheduled to be completed by 2025.
The project officials have been working day and night to implement it on time, Mannan said. This is why the government has decided to increase the allowance of those officials, he added.
The government also approved a project revised for a third time on the construction of Lebukhali bridge on the Payra river to facilitate communication between Barishal and Kuakata.
The project's deadline and cost have both increased.
The cost of Lebukhali bridge's construction was Tk 413 crore and it was supposed to be completed by December 2016.
Now the cost of the construction of this bridge stands at Tk 1,447 crore and the completion of the bridge's construction is scheduled for June 2022.
The cost of the project escalated because of changes in the design and additional land acquisition, according to the planning ministry proposal.
The Ecnec also approved a project involving Tk 3,322 crore to set up an electricity transmission line for importing power from India, Nepal and Bhutan. Of the cost, 52 percent will come from a second Indian line of credit.
The 140-kilometre high-voltage electricity transmission line between Barapukuria and Kaliakair is to import 1,600 megawatts of power from Indian conglomerate Adani Group.
Earlier, Bangladesh's power division and Adani Group signed a memorandum of understanding to allow the Indian firm to invest $2.5 billion to build a 1,600-megawatt coal-fired power plant in the country.
Later, Gujarat-based Adani Power, the largest private sector electricity producer in India, changed its plans. The power will now be generated in Jharkhand of India.
Adani Group is expected to start producing the electricity between 2022 and 2023, said a planning ministry official.
In the future, the proposed transmission line would be used to import electricity from Nepal and Bhutan as well, the official said.