Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Tuesday again expressed annoyance over the trend of amending development projects increasing time and cost.
She directed ministers to inquire about the reasons behind amendment of proposals from project directors, officials of implementing organisations and secretaries concerned.
The PM gave the instructions while approving amendments of two ongoing projects at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec).
Commenting that the implementation period of a new project is longer than required, she ordered to bring down the implementation period to a reasonable level.
The PM virtually presided over the Ecnec meeting held at the NEC Conference Centre in the capital.
Four projects worth Tk4,077.09 crore were approved at the meeting. The government will give Tk3,438.33 crore while Tk379.51 crore would be given by implementing agencies, Dr Shamsul Alam, senior secretary and member of the general economics department at the Planning Commission, told the media after the meeting.
The secretary said Ecnec approved the first amendment of a project styled ""Modernisation of Agricultural Information Service and Strengthening Digital Agricultural Information and Communication".
"Primarily, the estimated cost of the project was Tk68.71 crore. Undertaken in 2016, the project was scheduled to be completed by June this year. Now, the implementation period of the project has been extended by two years, till June 2022. The project cost also increased by 60%, or Tk 41.20 crore. Now the estimated cost is Tk109.91 crore.
Shamsul Alam said the PM became a little annoyed at the meeting and wanted to know the reason behind increasing the estimated time and cost of the project.
"Why has the project not been implemented yet? Why is extra time and money needed?" he quoted the PM as saying.
He said that as the Agriculture Minister was absent from the meeting and the Agriculture Secretary had taken charge a few days ago, no one could give a definite answer in this regard. However, the Prime Minister directed the project director to seek an explanation for the delay and additional cost.
"None could answer the PM's query as the agriculture minister was absent in the meeting due to illness, and the secretary joined the ministry only a few days ago. However, the PM instructed us to know the reason behind the increase of time and money from the project director," he said.
"The PM also expressed dissatisfaction over the proposal to extend the term of 'Charkhali-Tuskhali-Mathbaria-Patharghata Road Development and Widening Project', to June 2021. The project was approved in 2017 with a view to complete by June 2017.
He said the cost of the Tk104.77 project has increased by 43%, to Tk149.34 crore.
At the time, the Prime Minister asked, "Why is it taking so many years to complete a one-year project?
The PM said that the importance of this road will increase a lot once the Padma Multipurpose Bridge is opened.
Elevated expressways to be called 'dotola sarak' from now on
The prime minister has asked all to call the elevated expressway "Dotola Sarak", meaning two-storey roads in Bangla from now on.
She gave the directive during the meeting while approving the project of widening the road from Panchabati to Muktarpur Bridge and constructing elevated expressway at a cost of Tk2,242.78 crore. The government will give Tk2,020.77 crore from its own fund and implementing organisation Bangladesh Bridges Authority would give Tk222.01 crore.
Mymensingh City gets big project for the first time
After the announcement of Mymensingh municipality as the latest city corporation of the country in early 2016, no major project has been approved for the development of the area in two and a half years.
In this situation, ECNEC has approved a project at a cost of Tk1,575 crore.
Around 464.62 km of roads, 345.53 km of drains, 16.8 km of footpaths, three bridges, 13 culverts, six foot-over bridges will be constructed under the project titled 'Improvement of Citizen Services including Road Development and Drainage Network of Mymensingh City Corporation'.
Besides, various materials for road construction and waste management will be procured.
While approving the project, the prime minister said Mymensingh city has a lot of tradition; there are old trees and several playgrounds.
During the implementation of the project, she directed to refrain from cutting down trees and constructing buildings in the field, said Dr Shamsul Alam.
He said the prime minister has instructed not to pile up dirt anywhere.