Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved a project involving Tk 246.28 crore to increase hilsa production further so that the national fish becomes available all year round.
The project titled ‘Hilsha Resource Development and Management’ has been taken keeping in mind the fact that the delicious fish is still beyond the reach of most of the people of the country despite its increased production in recent years.
A total of five projects involving Tk 1,266.13 crore were approved in the meeting held at the NEC Conference Room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area. Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting.
The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and Planning Minister MA Mannan joined the meeting from Ganobhaban through video conferencing while some other Ministers and State Ministers, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned also attended the meeting.
With the new scheme, the government eyes to raise hilsa’s annual production to six lakh tones from current 5.34 lakh tonnes through stricter enforcement of law to preserve mother fish and fish fries.
Alternative jobs will also be created for 30,000 fishing families apart from distributing 10,000 legal fishing nets to fishermen and creating awareness among them through publicity.
Under the scheme, six fish sanctuaries will be created and mother fish catching will be stopped in the rivers lower Meghna, lower Padma, Tentulia and the Andharmanik during the breeding season.
Besides, awareness building meetings and workshops near hilsa sanctuaries will be held, 13 boats will be produced to conduct drives and against illegal hilsa catching.
Also, 18,000 fishermen will be trained up on alternative job under the scheme.
Planning minister MA Mannan said, “A total of five projects were approved today (Tuesday) involving an overall estimated cost of Tk 1,266.13 crore.”
The total project cost will come from the government of Bangladesh, he informed.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged for training for increasing the production of hilsa, he mentioned.
“She also said those who are returning from abroad will also be given training and financial incentives. So that they can go abroad again and earn more,” Mannan said.
Replying to a question, the planning minister said, “Passing the project does not mean spending money. We are also monitoring the ongoing project.”
However, of the approved five projects, four are new while one is revised project.
The three other new projects are ‘Upgrading Digpait-Sarishabari-Tarakandi Road of Jamalpur into proper standard and width’ project involving Tk 376.56 crore; ‘Construction of BGB’s 73 composites, modern observation posts (BOP) in border areas’ project with Tk 233.52 crore and ‘Establishment of 25-bed Shanti Nibash in 8 Government Shishu Paribars’ project involving Tk 73.99 crore.
The lone revised project is ‘Establishment of 40 Technical Training Centres in 40 upazilas and Institute of Marine Technology in Chattogram’ (1st revised) project with an additional cost of Tk 335.78 crore.
The project period was extended to June 2022 instead of June 2020.
In the revision, both the cost and time of the project have been extended. The original cost was Tk 1,331.30 crore, which has been raised to Tk 1667.08 crore in the revised project, according to the project factsheets provided by the Planning Commission.