Govt Considering Metro Rail and Dhaka-Chittagong Elevated Expressway

The government is considering construction of an underground rail network in Dhaka city and an elevated expressway on Dhaka-Chittagong highway to ease nagging traffic congestion in two major cities – Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said on Sunday.

Feasibility studies of the two potential projects will be conducted as the issues were discussed in the meeting of procurement committee, he said.

The Dhaka-Chittagong elevated expressway project would be implemented on public-private partnership basis, he said.

Responding to a question, Kamal said with maintaining a robust growth the government has been able to create nearly one crore jobs in the last five years and is expecting to create 19 lakh more during the next fiscal year.

Planning Commission Member Dr Shamsul Islam added that the figures were calculated on the notion that one percent of GDP growth creates 2.5 lakh jobs. He said the job creation rate was in line with the target sixth five-year plan.

Kamal said the government’s main focus was now on ICT sector so that more jobs can be created in a short span of time.

About the criticism of falling private investments, the minister said the real situation was not being reflected in the media as private investments slipped to 21.39 percent in 2013-14FY, from 21.75 percent a year earlier, which according to him, did not do much harm to the national economy.

On the contrary, total investments soared to 28.69 percent from 28.39 percent during the period supported by increasing public investment, he said, adding that the performance was not bad compared to those of other developing countries.

ADP implementation rate up to May this fiscal was 67 percent, which was only 2 percent down year-on-year, Kamal said, adding that the performance was not bad at all if a turbulent political situation was taken into account.

About ensuring more transparency as well as quality of public spending, the planning minister said his ministry was working on the issue to improve the quality of public spending.

In the current fiscal year, ECNEC approved a total of 203 development projects involving Tk 119,529 crore, he said.

Replying to another question, he said the country is going on the right track to become a middle-income country by the desired time, but it would need to improve further human development index.

About the government’s “Look East Policy,” Kamal said it would reap more benefits for the country and Bangladesh should have done that much earlier because the eastern countries have traditionally been resourceful and the west is going through recession.

Replying to another question, Kamal remarked that the number of public commercial banks should be reduced to one to fend off scams in the public sector banks.