Delays in appointing an efficient project director are to blame for the snail’s pace of implementation
Construction of the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) complex has progressed less than 1% in the last two years, and the work is highly unlikely to be completed by the deadline of December next year.
Until August this year, the project had spent only Tk1.51 crore, or 0.47%, against the allocation of Tk322.78 crore, said a source at the project. And the money was spent on a project manager's salary as well as car, computer and furniture purchases.
On condition of anonymity, the source said the complex construction might be completed in 2023.
According to the source, delays in appointing an efficient director for the project are to blame for the snail's pace of implementation.
Further, the source also claimed though the Planning Commission had given instructions to appoint the project director (PD) through a committee, the project did not follow it.
The information ministry undertook the Tk322.78 crore project to build the BFDC complex in Dhaka's Tejgaon – aiming at infrastructural development of the country's film industry to make it commercially profitable and bring back the golden era of the industry.
The project was approved on 2 October, 2018 with the deadline of December, 2021. Dexterous Consultants Ltd is currently in-charge of monitoring, supervision and architectural design of the project.
The architectural design and assessment of the cost of the project have yet to be finalised. However, the project director claimed that he would call for tenders for the project after completing the two tasks soon.
According to project documents, the tenders were supposed to be advertised last June.
After getting the approval of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in 2018, the project did not have a project director for about a year. Then a project director was appointed in March, 2019 and the official left the job after just three months.
A source at the project wishing not to be named told The Business Standard (TBS) that it was the failure of the ministry that there was no efficient project director.
"But the ministry could have completed it on time had it been a bit more dedicated. Why was the consulting firm tasked one year after the beginning of the project? This would ultimately raise the project costs and delay implementation," the official commented.
According to the project documents, the BFDC complex will be constructed according to the modern "Green Building" concept, and it will be synchronised with the theme of the adjacent Hatirjheel project. The 3D theatres and cineplexes at the complex will be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. Laser digital projectors and Dolby sound systems will also be installed there.
The project document said the construction of the BFDC complex will open up new avenues of entertainment, which will enable the industry to bring back audiences to cinemas.
Under the project, a 45,802-square-meter main building and four cineplexes will be constructed. Moreover, four sets of modern equipment will be purchased for screening the movies. In addition, there will be shooting floors amounting to 73.46 square meters to be constructed under it.
Jahangir Hossain, the current project director who joined in October, 2019, told TBS that he hired the consulting firm and initiated structural design after joining.
"This work is almost finished now. I hope to call for tenders very soon. However, the project cannot be completed within the stipulated time," he added.
While contacted, BFDC Managing Director (Acting) Nuzhat Yasmin told TBS that the appointment of a project director was also delayed after the approval.
"A PD often gets in trouble, and therefore many officials do not show interest in taking charge. Two officials were appointed after the project approval, but they did not join the office. The work has begun as the current PD has joined the office," she added.