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Govt to spend Tk 16b to speed up rehab, repair of infrastructures
Asad-uz Zaman

          The government has decided to speed up spending of about Tk 16 billion (1,600 crore) from its budgetary allocation for the rehabilitation and immediate repair of the infrastructures damaged by the ongoing deluge.
Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman announced the decision Thursday after a high-profile meeting with secretaries of different ministries at his Sher-e-Bangla Nagar office.
The meeting was organised to devise short-term rehabilitation programmes of the government as the relief distribution phase for the flood victims was nearing an end.
State Minister for Planning Anwarul Kabir Talukder, Planning Secretary Fazlur Rahman, Finance Secretary Zakir Ahmed Khan, Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Mirza Tasadduk Hossain Beg and other top bureaucrats attended the meeting.
The finance minister said officials of different ministries were directed to spend the money allocated in the budget on a priority basis for emergency repair of infrastructures.
"We have resolved the problem of resource constraints. . . we have just re-prioritised (our development schemes)," the minister explained.
He, however, ruled out the possibility of stopping or slashing the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the ongoing fiscal.
"The ADP implementation will not be stopped or slashed. The donor-funded projects and 1,200 ongoing projects will continue," he emphatically said.
Saifur said the government will seek assistance for its long-term measures from international agencies like the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) after a joint assessment within the next two to three months.
"We will seek assistance on the basis of the assessment. I am hopeful of receiving funds from them as I have already had talks with them," he added.
The minister pointed out that entrepreneurs in fisheries, livestock and poultry, which were among the worst-affected sectors, would receive support from the government.
"Their loan repayment would be suspended and if needed, fresh funds would be provided," he said.
Saifur also said the seeds of aman paddy and other seasonal crops would be procured locally on priority basis for distribution among the flood-affected farmers.
The concerned authorities were directed to construct schools and colleges by keeping the floodwater level in mind so that those infrastructures could be used as shelter centres at the time of any future disaster, he said.
During the high-profile meeting, official sources said, it was decided that every deserving marginal farmer would receive five kilogrammes (kgs) of seeds and 25 kgs of fertilizer free of costs.
"The Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) and the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) have been instructed to take immediate steps to prepare required seeds," said an official, preferring anonymity.
The official, who attended the meeting, also said not only paddy seeds, but also seeds of other seasonal crops like onion, potato and pulse would be given to deserving farmers.
"Authorities gave instructions to send those seeds quickly to farmers through the flood rehabilitation committees at the upazila level instead of district level committees," he added.
Another official said the finance minister told the meeting that there was no lack of money to implement development schemes.
"More money would be poured if the present allocation is seen inadequate," he quoted the minister as saying.
While stressing the need for maintaining quality of expenditures, the finance minister observed there should be a strong oversight mechanism for proper monitoring and supervision of project implementation, the official noted.


STARTING ANEW: With floodwater yet to recede fully from Basila at Mohammadpur in city, two dwellers of the area were building anew their house of bamboo-made materials Thursday. — FE Photo
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