The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) at a meeting on Tuesday approved a fresh mega project involving Tk 6,504.55 crore for constructing two duel-gauge double rail lines from Akhaura to Laksam.
Bangladesh Railway will implement the project, titled 'Construction of Duel Gauge Double Rail Line and Conversion of Existing Rail Line into Dual Gauge between Akhaura and Laksam', by June 2020.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said a total of eight development projects were approved at the meeting with Tk 10,625.79 crore.
"Of the total project cost, Tk 2,529.50 crore will come from the national exchequer, Tk 2,618.41 crore from the organisation's own fund while Tk 5,478.00 crore from project assistance," he said.
State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan was present at the briefing.
Of the approved eight projects, six are new while two are revised ones.
The total length of the two dual gauge rail lines would be 144 kilometers while another 40-km dual gauge rail line would be constructed for loop and siding lines.
Of the total project cost of Tk 6,504,55 crore for the Dual Gauge Rail Line project, Tk 1,026.66 crore will come from the government exchequer, while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide Tk 5,477.88 crore.
The Planning Minister said once the work on Akhaura-Laksam section double dual gauge line is completed, then the entire Dhaka-Chittagong rail line would turn into double dual-gauge ones facilitating transportation of goods and passengers.
Mustafa Kamal said the government is aiming to enhance connectivity with neighbouring countries where Dhaka-Chittagong Rail line would soon turn into a main corridor of the Trans-Asian Railway.
He said the government is now prioritizing railways and waterways for transportation of goods while on roads and railways for carrying passengers.
The Ecnec meeting gave nod to another project titled 'Maheshkhali-Anowara Gas Transmission Pipeline' with Tk 981.90 crore under which 91 kilometer transmission pipeline with a diameter of 30 inch would be set up from Maheshkhali to Anowara to ensure about 500 million cubic feet gas per day to various power plants and fertilizer factories and other industries.
Imported LNG would be supplied through this gas pipeline while work is on to set up an LNG terminal at the deep sea port in Maheshkhali.
The Ecnec meeting approved the 'Pre-Payment Metering Project for NOCS Division under DPDC' project with Tk 224.42 crore under which pre-payment metering would be introduced in five areas of Dhaka and Narayanganj.
Under the project, the residents of Khilgaon, Tejgaon, Kajla, Kamrangirchar and Swamibagh would be able to use electricity as per their need procuring smart-card based single or three-phase pre-payment meters.
The Planning Minister said that pre-payment meter would be gradually installed throughout the country.
The Ecnec meeting approved the 'Establishment of computer and language training labs in educational institutions of 64 districts' with Tk 298.98 crore under which some 2,000 labs would be established at the countrywide 2,000 educational institutions alongside the existing 3,544 computer labs. The project would be completed by December 2016.
Each of the computer lab would compromise of at least 17 laptops, one printer, one scanner, one LED multimedia projector, one headphone and one 3G pocket router.
The other projects approved at the meeting are 'Construction of Bibiyana-Dhanua Gas Transmission Pipeline', 2nd revised with Tk 1,709.77 crore, construction of important nine bridges with Tk 305.61 crore, temple-based child and mass education programs 4th phase with Tk 99.31 crore, providing stipend to Degree (Pass) and equivalent level students, 1st revised, with Tk 501.26 crore.
Ministers, State Ministers, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present at the meeting.