The deadline for construction of the railway track from Khulna-Mongla Port, which has been going on for more than a decade, has been extended for another year and a half. The executive committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) has approved a second revision to extend the project until December next year.
The second revision to the project, which was approved at the ECNEC meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the NEC conference centre in the capital on Tuesday, estimated a revised cost of Tk4,261 crore. In December 2020 the cost of the project was estimated at Tk1,721 crore to complete the work in 25 months. Failing to finish the project in over a decade the cost of the project has increased by Tk 2,539.49 crore.
In a press briefing after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said a total of nine projects were approved by ECNEC. Of these, only four are new, and the other five are revisions to ongoing projects.
The cost of the revised projects was estimated at Tk10,036 crore. After revisions, the expenditure has increased to Tk16726 crore. As a result of not being able to complete the work on time, the additional cost of Tk6690 crore has to be added, which is 67% of the original allocation.
According to the Planning Commission, a total of Tk19,003 crore will be spent on the projects approved yesterday. Of this, Tk8735 crore will be spent from government funds and Tk 210 crore from the implementing agencies' funds. The remaining Tk10,058 crore will be collected from foreign sources as project assistance.
The construction of the Khulna-Mongla railway line was to receive a first phase loan (LOC-1) assistance of Tk1,202 crore from India. Delays in the approval process and negligence on the part of Indian contractors have delayed its implementation, railway officials said. Under this project, a total of 64.750km long broad-gauge railway line will be constructed. The amount of the Indian loan in this project has increased to Tk 2946 crore.
The duration and cost of the Kushtia Medical College and Hospital project, which became controversial due to allegations of irregularities and corruption in construction, has also been revised. The cost of the project, which was estimated at a cost of Tk275 crore since the beginning of 2012, has risen to Tk682 crore. The additional cost of the project is Tk407 crore or 148% of the initial budget.
Earlier on 5 January, when the proposal was presented at the ECNEC meeting, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was instructed to determine the reasons for the delay, take needed actions and examine the project thoroughly before submitting it before the committee.
Following the decision of the meeting, an inquiry committee headed by the Secretary of IMED was formed. The report of the committee was sent to the Prime Minister's Office. It was then sent to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Housing and Public Works with the recommendation of the Prime Minister. In this context, the Prime Minister directed swift action against those involved in corruption, said MA Mannan.
Sayedabad water supply project phase-3 has been approved by increasing the expenditure by 64%. The project, with the cost of Tk4,597 crore, expired in June last year. The cost of the revised project has been fixed at Tk 7,518 crore by extending the deadline till June 2025. An additional cost of Tk2921 crore is estimated for the project.
The first revision of the Agriculture weather information system development project estimated its cost at Tk212 crore. The project initially costing Tk119 crore has been running since June 2016. The delay in this project has resulted in an additional cost of Tk93 crore.
ECNEC has approved the first revision of the Barapukuria-Bogura-Kaliakair 400 KV line construction project at Tk 4052 crore. The cost of the project, which started in 2019, was estimated at Tk3322 crore.
The cost of the infrastructure project, undertaken for smooth transmission of electricity generated by the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and imported electricity from Adani in India, has been increased by Tk730 crore.
Besides, upgrading of Tangail-Delduar-Lauhati-Saturia-Kawalipara-Kalampur bus stand road to proper standard and width, the establishment of two Agricultural Training Institutes (ATIs) in Jagannathpur and Mohanganj upazilas, river bank conservation in Pirganj upazila of Rangpur district, re-excavation of small rivers-canals, project for elimination of waterlogging, and the project to protect the right and left banks of the Kirtinasha river in Shariatpur district were also approved by the ECNEC.