Planning Minister MA Mannan on Sunday said that the government will not tolerate any delay in the implementation of development projects in Chattogram.
Expressing discontent over a slow progress in development programmes in the region, he ordered the project directors concerned to expedite all the projects so that they complete in time.
"As politicians, we are accountable to the people for our works. The unusual delay in project implementation tarnishes our image," he said.
The planning minister said these while addressing a meeting at the Chattogram Circuit House with directors of the public projects being executed in the region under the government's Annual Development Programme.
"We have increased your salaries, leaves and even pension facilities, but it is unfortunate that we are not getting the result yet," he said.
"We want returns from you. We want output," Mannan said.
In Chattogram, at least 188 projects are currently being carried out. Of the total, 81 see a slow progress, while 24 projects are yet to start.
According to the planning division, Tk19,861 crore has been allocated for the 188 ongoing projects in Chattogram this fiscal year.
But only Tk1,543 crore has been spent on them in the first two months of the fiscal, amounting to 7.77 percent of the total allocation.
Meanwhile, officials of the planning ministry said that issues over land acquisition and the tender process are responsible for "zero progress" in some projects in the region.
Although a number of mega projects have been undertaken in Chattogram, the implementation is quite sluggish.
For example, the government has prioritised the Matarbari 1,200MW coal-based power plant in Maheshkhali. The plant, earmarked as a fast-track project, has made only 26.27 percent progress in the last five years.
Single-point mooring at Sonadia island, a project to transport imported raw petroleum to the state-owned refinery, has made only 16 percent progress in the last five years.
Although the Ashuganj 400MW combined cycle power plant has been under construction for the last five years, only 7.87 percent of the total allocation for this project has been spent thus far.
The "Pre-stressed Concrete Girder Bridge Box Culvert" project in Khagrachhari was taken up in 2015, but not a single penny has been spent on it so far. Four and a half years have elapsed but the progress in the project is zero.
Regarding the projects with zero progress, the planning minister earlier told The Business Standard that the zero progress projects would be evaluated closely. The government will also keep an eye on purchases for the project.
Apart from monitoring the purchase, the minister also said at that time that he would verify whether there was any arbitrary use of vehicles bought for the projects.
In the Sunday meeting, however, Abul Mansur Md Faizullah, secretary of Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division, was present as a special guest.
Among others, lawmaker ABM Fazle Karim Chowdhury, lawmaker Shamsul Islam, Chattogram Divisional Commissioner Abdul Manan and the projects directors were also present.