(MENAFN- Bangladesh Monitor)
Dhaka: The government is extending the duration and budget for constructing 560 model mosques-cum-Islamic cultural centres all across the country for the second time by another three years.
Meaning the cost of the project, which was taken up in 2017 with a view to promoting Islamic values and culture in the country, will increase by 8.17 per cent now. The project, which will be implemented by the Bangladesh Islamic Foundation, will now cost BDT 9,435 crore and end in June 2024.
The proposal for the amended project cost and duration was placed at a meeting on December 7 of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council.
At the time of taking up the project, 90 per cent of the estimated BDT 9,062.4 crore outlay were supposed to come as a grant from Saudi Arabia. But after waiting for over a year, the foreign assistance did not materialise, compelling the government to proceed with the project with its own funds.
Then on June 26, 2018, the project's cost was cut by BDT 340 crore to BDT 8,722 crore while the implementation period was extended to June this year from the original deadline of December 2019.
According to reports, Project Director Md Nojibur Rahman said the pandemic and delays in land acquisition have dragged the project.
And the delay means the original budgeting made based on 2014's prices is no longer valid; the rates of labour and construction materials have increased by 25 to 30 per cent, he added.
As of November, about 37.5 per cent of the physical works for the project is complete.
The finance ministry has given a target of completing the construction of 100 mosques by this fiscal year, according to Rahman. 'Hopefully, this can be achieved,' he added.
Earlier on June 10, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated 50 model mosques, which have libraries and provide Quran learning sessions and training for Hajj aspirants and Imams.
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