Despite the prime minister's directive that a project director should handle only one project at a time, a Roads and Highway Department official has been directing nine projects at one go in Mymensingh.
A report by the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED), found that Md Saiful Alam, additional chief engineer of the Roads and Highway Department, Mymensingh (zone office), is the director of nine projects in the division. Progress in six of those projects is very slow and there is no progress at all in one.
IMED prepared the report on the progress of those projects to present to Planning Minister MA Mannan during his visit to Mymensingh on Wednesday.
Officials working on several projects at the same time cannot focus on particular tasks properly. The Planning Commission identified this as the main reason for the slow implementation of government projects.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave directives on this several times at meetings of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec). The planning ministry also directed the ministries and departments accordingly on several occasions. After inspecting several projects across the country, the planning minister asked the secretaries to take care of this issue.
Planning Minister MA Mannan held a meeting with project directors at the deputy commissioner's conference hall after observing the progress in different projects in Mymensingh on Wednesday. IMED Secretary Abul Mansur Md Faizullah was present at the meeting.
Earlier, the planning minister visited Sylhet, Khulna, Rajshahi, Chattogram, and Rangpur divisions to identify and resolve the problems that had been slowing down the implementation of projects.
When contacted, Saiful Alam said, implementing several projects at the same time is no problem because there is a superintending engineer and two executive engineers to oversee the work in each of those projects.
He also claimed that only one project was going slow, while the others were progressing well.
However, the report by the IMED indicated otherwise. One of the projects under Saiful's direction was to widen the Jamalpur-Dhanuakamalpur-Kadamtala (Roumari) district highway. The project is supposed to be finished by this December, but till October there was only 28 percent progress in implementing it.
Another project under Saiful's direction is the development of the Netrokona-Bishiura-Issorganj highway. This project is also supposed to be completed by December, but there was only 57 percent progress in its implementation.
IMED listed three other projects directed by Saiful as slow. These are the projects for proper development of the district highways, widening of the Jamalpur-Kalibri-Sarishabari highway and widening the Jamalpur-Chechuagachha highway. The progress in these projects were 28 percent, 46.89 percent and 48.9 percent respectively. These projects are supposed to be completed by June next year.
Besides, no money has been spent for the construction of the Netrakona Challisha-Kunia-Medni Bazar highway since it was launched in January.
According to the IMED report, work in 63 development projects costing Tk3,533.52 crore in Mymensingh was going on. There was no progress in 4 of these projects, 38 projects were progressing slowly and 21 projects were advancing comparatively fast.