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Cost goes up 59pc with no physical progress made

Seven-year old Shitalakhya Bridge project

FE Report | January 17, 2018 00:00:00

With no progress made in physical work in seven years since its launch in 2010, the government on Tuesday revised upward the cost of the Shitalakhya Bridge construction project by 59 per cent.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved a proposal to increase the cost of the project to Tk 5.99 billion at its meeting in the capital with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

It was one of the 14 proposals that were approved at the meeting involving a total expenditure of Tk 184.83 billion, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told reporters after the meeting.

Ministers and state ministers, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present at the ECNEC meeting.

Among the projects, nine are new and the remaining ongoing ones.

Of the total cost, Tk 163.71 billion will come from the government's own coffer, Tk 950 billion from the executing agencies' own fund and the rest Tk 20.17 billion from the external resources as project assistance.

Officials said the RHD had recently sought revision of the Shitalakhya Bridge project for the second time, seeking enhanced expenditure from the original cost of Tk 3.77 billion.

The project was officially started in November 2010. Since then, the RHD changed seven project directors (PDs).

It has also sought four more years up to 2021 from the existing deadline of financial year (FY) 2016-17 to implement the 1.29-km bridge connecting the capital and its adjacent city of Narayanganj.

The government had earlier extended the project execution deadline three times between November 2010 and December 2013.

Project director M Shamsul Huq told the FE that the project execution has been delayed due to lack of confirmation for external fund by the development partner -- Saudi Fund for Development.

Now, they were mobilising all the construction materials as the RHD signed a contract worth Tk 4.48 billion with a Chinese contractor (Sinohydro) in February 2017 for building the bridge within 36 months, he said.

The ECNEC approved Infrastructure Development of Selected Private Secondary Schools project to be implemented by June 2020 at Tk 106.49 billion. Under the project, the government will develop buildings of 3,000 non-government institutions.

Other approved projects included construction of flood shelters at flood prone and river-erosion prone areas (3rd phase) at Tk 15.07 billion, greater Chittagong rural infrastructure development project-3 at Tk 12.90 billion, construction of district relief godown-cum-disaster management information centres at Tk 1.27 billion, Mohananda river dredging and construction of rubber dam at Tk 1.60 billion, construction of factory for ensuring multipurpose use of milk alongside improvement of livestock variety at the greater Faridpur char and other adjoining areas project at Tk 3.44 billion.

Besides, it also approved priority rural water supply project at Tk8.74 billion, widening of Chapapur-Borura, Nimsar-Borura and Khajuria-Borura district highways with due standard at Tk 1.57 billion, construction of seven RAB complexes (second revised) at Tk 5.99 billion, construction of multi-storey building for Cox's Bazar Development Authority at Tk 1.12 billion, Active Pharmaceuticals Ingredient (API) Industrial Park (third revised) at Tk 3.81 billion, Emergency 2007 Cyclone Recovery and Restoration Project (ECRRP): LGED Portion (3rd revised) at Tk16.18 billion and Emergency 2007 Cyclone Recovery and Restoration Project (ECRRP): Project Coordination and Monitoring Unit (PCMU) Part (3rd revised) at Tk 630 million.

UNB adds: About the non-government school project, the planning minister said that the number of students at the secondary level would be some 91 lakh (91,60,365) -- a huge number of them were studying in 327 government secondary schools and 19,357 non-government secondary schools.

So, it is essential to increase classrooms in the schools to ensure education for all students, he added.

Under the project, academic buildings and other necessary infrastructures will be constructed in the selected non-government schools across the country alongside ensuring the supply of necessary furniture for the institutions.

He said the Greater Chittagong Rural Infrastructure Development Project-3 will be implemented by the Local Government Engineering Department by June 2022 in 23 upazilas of Chittagong and Cox's Bazar districts, aiming to mobilise farm and non-farm activities and rural economy, and improve road networks connected with healthcare centres, educational institutions and other service providing agencies.

Under the project, Upazila roads, Union roads and village roads will be developed, while rural bridges and culverts will be constructed alongside development of other infrastructures.

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