The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday (Sep 22) approved five projects involving an overall estimated cost of Tk 1,266.13 crore, including one for development and management of Hilsha resources with Taka 246.28 crore. The approval came from the 9th ECNEC meeting of the current fiscal year (FY21) held with ECNEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The premier joined the meeting virtually from her official Ganobhaban residence while the ministers, state ministers and others concerned attended the meeting from the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Briefing the reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister Abdul Mannan said, “A total of five projects were approved today involving an overall estimated cost of Tk 1,266.13 crore to be entirely borne from the state exchequer.” Of the approved five projects, four are new while one is a revised project, local media reported.
The Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock will implement the Hilsha development project by June 2024 in order to ensure enforcement of the concerned law to conserve the mother Hilsha and Jhatka side by side boosting the Hilsha production through optimum management of Hilsha sanctuaries.
Planning Commission member Md Zakir Hossain Akand said the project will be implemented at some 134 upazilas under 29 districts of six divisions.
He said the main project objectives include boosting the Hilsha production to 6.20 lakh metric tons from 5.33 lakh metric tons, creating alternate employment opportunities for some 30,000 fishermen families engaged in catching Hilsha fish and distributing some 10,000 legal fishing nets among fishermen.
Zakir said the contribution of Hilsha in the country’s overall fisheries production is 11 percent while its contribution to the country’s GDP is one percent.
The main project operations include operating six fish sanctuaries and imparting training to some 18,000 fishermen to create alternate employment opportunities for them.
The planning minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the meeting asked the authorities concerned to motivate fish farming in cages in the water side by side ensuring necessary training, cash support and distributing rice to those fishermen who remained out of work during the lean period.