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Four ‘fast-track’ projects of transport sector not ‘on-track’

FHM Humayan Kabir | May 03, 2018 12:00:00

The four 'fast-track' projects of the country's transport sector have fallen behind their respective completion target due to tardiness in their implementation process, officials said on Wednesday.

They said among the total 10 'fast-track' projects, the government has given utmost priority to four transport sector projects. These are -- Tk 287.93-billion Padma Bridge construction, Tk 349.88-billion Padma railway link, Tk 219.85-billion Dhaka Mass Rapid Transport (MRT Line-6), and Tk 180.34-billion Dohazari-Ramu-Cox's Bazar-Ghundum project.

Among these four prioritised projects, not a single one will be completed before the next national election, although the government promised to inaugurate those during its current tenure.

The government's high-ups maintaining silence over the sluggish progress of the nearly US$ 40-billion cost 10 'fast-track' projects.

Even, the Prime Minister-led committee on supervising the 'fast-track' projects has not sat in last two years, after in April 2016, said the officials concerned.

Earlier, the government formed the PM-led committee to look after and streamline implementation of the 'fast-track' projects to complete those before the next election, expected to be held in December next.

According to them, almost all the 'fast-track' transport sector projects are far behind their execution schedule.

The Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) implemented 53 per cent of the project until this March, and spent Tk 150.77 billion out of its total outlay of Tk 287.93 billion.

The BBA has divided the project work into five packages -- main bridge, river training, Janjira approach road, Mawa approach road, and service area-2 construction work.

According to the schedule, the implementing agency will complete construction work of the 6.15-km main bridge by this November.

But the BBA in its own report said it has completed 59 per cent of the physical work, and spent 55.81 per cent of its total outlay. It means, the remaining 41 per cent of the bridge construction work will have to be completed within the next seven months.

Project insiders said the BBA has been facing troubles in pilling work in some 21 piers of the bridge, as solid base is not being found on the river bed. It is hampering the pilling work for building the piers.

Similarly, river training work, another crucial component of the project, is also going slowly, as only 36 per cent of the physical progress has been done until March last.

So, the contractor has to complete the remaining 54 per cent work within the schedule of December 2018.

However, the progress of Mawa and Janjira approach roads and service area-2 packages are satisfactory, as those have been completed before June 2017.

The government, in early 2016, approved Padma railway link project at a cost of Tk 349.88 billion to complete it by June 2022. But the railway line construction work is yet to start.

On April 27 last, Bangladesh signed a US$ 2.67-billion loan deal with China for constructing the railway line on Dhaka-Padma Bridge-Bhanga-Jessore route.

The Bangladesh Railway (BR) officials said they have started earthwork for the railway line, and some 11 per cent of the physical work of the project has been completed.

The state-owned railway service provider has spent Tk 22 billion, 6.0 per cent of the Tk 349.88-billion cost project, until March. The BR has got an allocation of Tk 68.11 billion in the current Revised Annual Development Programme (RADP).

The government earlier announced that it would try to open even a part of the line, between Dhaka and Bhanga, simultaneously with the Padma Bridge inauguration.

After a long stalemate, the construction work of the 10-km line between Uttara and Agaragon under MRT Line-6 project (Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project) is now on.

The government, in July 2012, approved the project at Tk 219.85 billion cost. Of the amount, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing Tk 165.94 billion, while the government will provide the rest.

The 20-km MRT line between Uttara and Motijheel is scheduled to be completed by June 2024.

Project insiders said as MRT Line-6 project work has started late, its implementation could be delayed to some extent.

Dhaka Mass Transport Company Limited (DMTCL) has divided the entire project into eight packages.

According to DMTCL, it has almost completed Package-1 (CP-01) work, and land development for the railway depot at Uttara 3rd phase.

Now the construction work of Package CP-02 (depot civil and buildings), CP-03 and CP-04 (viaduct and stations between Uttara and Agargaon) has been going on.

For the last one year, Italian-Thai Development Public Company Limited has been working to build the 10-km MRT line between Uttara and Agargaon. The company has already acquired partial roads from Agargaon to Mirpur Cantonment to set up piers for the elevated line.

However, insiders said the company is advancing slowly with its work due to lack of adequate equipments and manpower as well as the chosen sites of entire 10-km MRT line.

Meanwhile, the DMTCL signed separate deals with two Japanese and Thailand-based joint-venture companies on April 30 for implementing packages CP-05 and CP-06 (viaduct and stations between Agargaon and Motijheel).

As per the contracts, the two companies will build the line from Agargaon to Karwan Bazar and from Karwan Bazar to Motijheel in 36 months from the work order date.

The DMTCL under the remaining Package CP-07 will complete electro-mechanical systems work, and under CP-08 will procure rolling stock and depot equipments for operating MRT Line-6.

The government in 2010 approved the 102-km railway line project at a cost of Tk 180.34 billion, which is scheduled to be completed in June 2022.

But the project has seen the light of execution in the last one year, as Asian Development Bank (ADB) and China approved their pledged fund for railway line construction.

On September 28, 2017, ADB approved around Tk 120.00 billion ($ 1.5 billion) for the project. This is the largest-ever investment made in the railways sector by ADB.

According to BR officials, they have been working to acquire and develop land for the line from Dohazari to Cox's Bazar in the first phase of the project.

The project has been divided into two packages. Under the first package, rail-line will be constructed from Dohazari to Chakaria. China's CREC and Bangladesh's Toma Construction Company will jointly construct it at Tk 26.88 billion cost.

Under the second package, the contractor - CCICC and Bangladesh's Max Infrastructure Ltd - will construct the dual-gauge single line from Chakaria to Ramu and Cox's Bazar at a cost of Tk 35.03 billion.

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