Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) couldn’t complete an industrial estate- development project in Sirajganj in the last 13 years although the project received extension for six times, insiders said on Monday.
On the 7th occasion, the project- completion deadline has recently been extended by one more year until June next, they said.
They added that the delay has not only caused waste of time but also almost doubled the project cost from the original outlays.
In 2010, BSCIC started the project work on 400 acres of land with an estimated cost of Tk 3.79 billion and was supposed to complete it by June 2014, said an official involved with the project.
The project cost increased to Tk 7.19 billion with its fourth revision as approved by the executive committee of the national economic council (ECNEC). Finally on September 12 last, the ECNEC extended the project completion deadline until June 2024.
When asked, an official of the Ministry of Industries (MoI) told the FE that delays in land acquisition and a snail's pace of implementation work by the contractors have affected the overall progress of the project.
"Only 84 per cent of physical work of the Sirajganj cottage industrial estate has so far been completed. We hope to complete it by June next year," he said. "We've already spent Tk 5.21 billion, 72.5 per cent of the revised Tk 7.19 billion cost."
A member at the Planning Commission (PC) told the FE that it is simply a misuse of time and public money. "We try to stop such projects due to repeated failure of the implementing agencies. But the PC sometimes faces pressures to revise them," he said, requesting anonymity.
"There is a strict instruction from the Prime Minister not to endorse such projects. But we sometimes allow it considering different factors," the PC member said. "We'll be more cautious in the future in handling such projects."
The BSCIC is expected to develop 829 industrial plots and set up 580 cottage industries under the project, creating nearly 0.10 million jobs.
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