Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The new government is set to implement fast-track six projects, including the Padma bridge, a deep-sea port and the metro rail at a cost of $15.5 billion aiming to bring dynamism in the country’s overall economic activities.

The projects are expected to reshape the country’s economic outlook, improve communication and accelerate gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

The other three projects are 1,320-megawatt Rampal Power Plant, 1,000MW Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, and the LNG Terminal Project for importing liquid gas.

The decision came at the first meeting of the Fast Track Project Monitoring Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office in the capital Dhaka on Wednesday. The committee reviewed the implementation status of the six projects.

The government has identified the projects as of utmost importance, and thinks that they need to be implemented as fast as possible to boost the economy, Shaikh Md Wahid-uz-Zaman, principal secretary to the PM, told The Daily Star, a local newspaper. “The government will implement these projects through a fast-track process to avoid bureaucratic tangles that often eat up time.”

The committee will instantly make decisions on the projects in consultation with the ministers concerned, he said.

Mr. Zaman heads an eight-member taskforce that monitors the implementation of the decisions by the Fast Track Project Monitoring Committee formed in May last year with the PM as its head.

The taskforce will meet every month and take prompt measures to resolve whenever there is any problem.

A seven-member committee led by the land secretary has also been formed to expedite the acquisition of lands for these projects.

At the meeting, Hasina directed all ministries concerned to complete the work of the projects as quickly as possible.

Of the five components of the Padma bridge project, the construction of the main bridge will cost $1.32 billion, the Economic Relations Division said in a progress report placed at the meeting.

Three pre-qualified bidders submitted technical proposals for the task on January 9, and the evaluation of the proposals would be completed by March, it said.
The report said the shipping ministry is preparing a guideline on the financing of the deep-sea port project.

Bangladesh can build this port on Sonadia island in three phases, and it will cost around $5 billion, according to a Japanese study in 2009. 
Later, China and several other countries showed interests in financing and constructing the port.

“We have received three separate proposals from China, Germany and the Netherlands till now,” Mr. Zaman said. “But we are waiting for a proposal from Dubai-based DP World that has the experience of constructing 50 deep-sea ports in different countries. The company had earlier expressed its interests in the project”.
He also said they would review all the proposals and accept the one that would serve the country’s interests the most.

BBN/SSR/AD-23Jan14-2:16 pm (BST)