FE Today Logo
Search date: 09-10-2022 Return to current date: Click here

Widening Elenga-Hatikumrul-Rangpur highway

Munima Sultana | October 09, 2022 00:00:00

Land acquisition-related delay, new rate of schedule for compensation and increased prices of construction materials are likely to raise both project cost and time of SASEC 2 for third time.

Sources said the project which started field-level work late to widen 195 kilometre Elenga-Hatikumrul-Rangpur highway could not make desired progress in the last two years.

Though the project office shows the causes of delay in handing over the land as its related complication, it has recently placed an increased cost of around Tk45 billion for the land acquisition, without any increase in land demand.

Official sources, however, said the increase in project cost is related to the recent revision of the rate of schedule of the Public Works Department (PWD) for compensation for structures which was much higher than the rate suggested in its 2018 schedule.

They said due to delay in completion of the land acquisition work, the Deputy Commissioner offices placed the new proposal for land acquisition in accordance with the PWD rate which is likely to increase the related cost.

"Actually the rate increased for the LA as class of the land has also been changed and PWD structural compensation rate increased on which the project office has no control," said a project official.

Sources said the DC offices under the SASEC 2 Projects have taken two years to four years to hand over the land.

Highest 46 months were taken to complete the land acquisition work in Gaibandha district.

The SASEC 2 project since its approval in 2016 has placed a demand of 782.13 acres of land in Sirajganj, Bogura, Gaibandha and Rangpur for constructing the 190 km highway into a four-lane one along with two separate lanes for slow moving vehicles and an interchange at Hatikamrul.

The project cost according to the first development project proposal was Tk118.99 billion which was increased to Tk166.62 billion in 2021 extending the project tenure to 2024.

The project's first tenure ended in August 2021 without any such work in the field level.

Project officials said the contractors are now working at their respective sites where land acquisition-related problems are over.

But they said for not getting all land in time, the project could not make its due progress.

Recently the project office under the Roads and Highways Department sent a letter to the Land Ministry and Road Transport and Highways Division showing the cause of delay in the project.

"It is not in our hand as the DC offices caused the delay," said another official.

He, however, said at the current circumstances, the project office sought permission from the RTHD for special revision of the RDPP due to increase in land acquisition cost.

[email protected]

Share if you like