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17 September, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 September, 2017 11:08:56 AM
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FAST-TRACK PROJECTS

Slow progress worries govt

JAGARAN CHAKMA
Slow progress worries govt

The government is worried as it is unlikely to complete any of the fast-track projects during its current term, which expires in January 2019, because of their sluggish progress in the last financial year, say sources. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has recently asked the finance ministry to hold a meeting with the ministries concerned to step up the implementation work. Sources said the PMO has expressed dissatisfaction over the tardy progress of the fast-track projects. Most of the 10 top-priority fast-track projects, involving a total cost of around USD 40 billion, are progressing, although they are a few years behind schedule, according to the fast-track monitoring committee of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The projects are: the Padma Multipurpose Bridge (PMB), the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project, the 1,320-MW Rampal Super Thermal Power Project, the Materbari 1,200-MW Ultra Super-Critical Coal-fired Power Project, the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (metro rail project), the Payra Sea Port, the Padma Rail Link, the Dohazari-Ramu-Cox’s Bazar single-line dual-gauge rail track, the Sonadia Deep Sea Port and the Kutubdia LNG Terminal.

Finance ministry sources said finance minister AMA Muhith has called a meeting of the ministries concerned and project directors on September 19. Officials said that the lower-than-expected progress of the projects during the last financial year has created an uncertainty over the completion of three mega projects within the tenure of the present government. The Padma Multipurpose Bridge, Metro Rail and Payra Sea Port projects are scheduled to be completed before 2019.

While announcing the national budget on June 2 last year, Muhith had allocated Tk. 18,727 crore for eight of the 10 fast-track mega projects in order to ensure their timely implementation.

Planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal blamed the lack of capacity in the ministries concerned and the killing of foreigners, including Japanese nationals, in extremist attacks on a Gulshan cafe in Dhaka on July 1 last for the slow progress of these projects during the outgoing financial year.

He, however, expected the Kutubdia LNG Terminal, Metro Rail and the Padma Bridge projects to be completed in time He said they are trying to hasten up things before the next national election. Padma Multipurpose Bridge (PMB): Allegations of slow progress regarding the Padma Bridge project have prompted the government to evaluate the performance of the two foreign contractors of the mega project.

The monitoring committee felt that there has been good progress of the project. The committee said the project’s overall progress till date was 46.50 per cent. The construction work of the main bridge has achieved 35.50 per cent progress, river training 29 per cent, the Jajira side approach road 91 per cent, the Mawa side approach road 100 per cent, and the service area (2) 100 per cent.

Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant: The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project is scheduled to be completed by 2022. The project has two phases—the first part (preparatory work) is almost complete at a cost of Tk. 5,087 crore. But the main part of the project, involving a cost of Tk 1,18,179 crore, will start soon.

The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the country’s biggest project so far, had been approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in December 2016. It had cleared the “Establishment of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (main phase)” at an estimated cost of Tk. 113,092.91 crore. The project involves the construction of two units of the nuclear power plant having a capacity of 2,400 MW. The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), under the science and technology ministry, is to implement the main phase of the mega project by December 2025.

Meanwhile, Russia has approved a loan of up to USD 11.38 billion to build the nuclear power plant. The loan will be used for the construction of the plant from 2017 to 2024. Bangladesh will repay the amount over 20 years in equal semi-annual instalments, starting from March 15, 2027.

Materbari 1,200-MW Ultra Super-critical Coal-fired Power Plant: The government is building the Tk. 35,984.46-crore power plant in Chittagong region, with funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to achieve stable electricity supply in Bangladesh. Dohazari–Ramu–Cox’s Bazar single-line dual-gauge rail track: The construction of the 100.83-km Dohazari–Ramu–Cox’s Bazar single-line dual-gauge rail track will begin in July 2017. This will connect the tourist destination of Cox’s Bazar with the railway network.

On September 28, 2016, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved around Tk. 12,000 crore (USD 1.5 billion) for the project. This is the largest-ever investment made in railways by the ADB. The implementation of the much hyped mass rapid transit line-6 is on track, with most project segments progressing as per schedule, say project sources.

The manager (legal affairs and public relation) of the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL), Khan Mohammad Mizanul Islam, thanked the Japanese bidder for the rapid progress, although work had been badly hampered because of the Holey Artisan Bakery attack on July 1, 2016.

Following the attack, Japanese bidders and consultants were restrained from travelling to Bangladesh due to security concerns, which resulted in delays, Mizanul Islam said.

Out of the eight packages of the project, 50 per cent of the ground work of Package-1 has been completed already. The rest  is expected to be completed by March next year. The development components or the construction packages include CP-01 (depot land development), CP-02 (depot civil & buildings), CP-03, CP-04 (viaduct & stations, Uttara-Agargaon), CP-05, CP-06 (viaduct & stations, Agargaon-Motijheel), CP-07 (electro-mechanical systems) and CP-08 (rolling stock & depot equipment).

A Japanese firm, Tokyo Construction Ltd, is carrying out the depot land development work (CP-01). It will develop the depot on 23.84 hectares during the construction period at a cost of about Tk. 567.56 crore. The MRT-6 is being implemented at a cost of Tk. 21,985.07 crore. Of this amount, the JICA is providing Tk. 16,594.59 crore, while the government will provide the rest

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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