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The project policy before election

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WITH the election nearing, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved 24 development projects worth Tk 24,740 crore. News media reported that there could be more such approvals next week before the Election Commission announces the polls schedule. The spree of projects approval by ECNEC at this time is intended to please some vested quarters, though most of the projects do not exist anywhere except on paper.
The Planning Ministry on the day had tabled 25 projects involving Tk 32,508 crore for ECNEC's approval. During its six-hour meeting, Ecnec only returned a Tk 7,767 crore project for the Mymensingh divisional headquarters. It is informed that ECNEC would sit again on Sunday where 30 to 40 more projects could be placed for approval. Usually, once the election schedule is announced, no projects are approved. So, the Ministries and Divisions are rushing to the planning ministry to get the green light for their projects. At least 82 projects involving Tk 88,782 crore have been approved this month alone. In the first half of the month, two ECNEC meetings were held in one week, its a rare example indeed.
Analysts said that many of the approved projects are for enhancing rural and district roads, improving electricity distribution system, and City Corporation development. They are likely to boost the ruling party nominees' chances in the polls. The huge number of projects was being approved anticipating EC's restrictions on project approval after the schedule is announced.
If more projects get approval in a hurry, there will be more opportunities for corruption. The bureaucrats get huge facilities from this kind of practice. Besides, a section of influential businessmen get work order as they have to finance the party for the election campaign. It's a long-standing trend.
The politics behind project approval and inauguration spree of some local leaders without any work progress before elections increases corruption and nepotism. It is an unhealthy practice and misuse of public money too.

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