Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the authorities concerned to take disciplinary actions against officials whose negligence results in flaws in project formulations or increased costs.
She said when changes are made during project implementation the costs increase.
"Those involved in such acts should be found out and subjected to punishment," Planning Minister MA Mannan quoted the prime minister as saying.
Addressing a press briefing after the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) meeting on Wednesday, he said the prime minister had given the directive after a proposal to extend the important rural bridge construction project's tenure by three years and cost by Tk2,530 crore was tabled at the meeting.
The project was taken up in 2017 at an estimated cost of Tk3,926.76 crore to construct 132 bridges in different areas of the country by June this year. It was revised by extending the tenure till June 2024 while the cost rose to Tk6,457.19 crore.
The cost increased by 64.44% due to slow implementation and faults in the project design.
The planning minister said, "The prime minister analysed the cost and said the main project did not include a design. She directed to take legal actions against those responsible for this, which resulted in the waste of both time and money."
He said the directive would apply to all projects even though it was given while discussing a single project.
"Some new items are added to projects during implementation, and this increases both tenure and costs. The prime minister also warned about that."
Planning Commission member Zakir Hossain Akanda told the briefing the rural bridge construction project had not been studied fully during formulation, which caused complexities at the time of implementation.
Mentioning that the premier's directives included maintaining cautions while selecting project sites, Mannan said bridges should be built to meet people's needs.
He said a bridge cannot be constructed next to the house of an individual so that his interests are served.
"Masterplans need to be formulated to build bridges on rivers. Cautions should be maintained while building them so that they would not obstruct the flow of water in rivers. Local Government Engineering Department officials involved in such projects should be cautious," he said.
Mannan said there had been obstacles after proceeding with the plan to build waterways around Dhaka, adding, "There were obstacles in many places. Bridges have to be built in a way so that navigation is not obstructed."
The minister said the prime minister had again instructed project managers to stay in their respective project areas.
"She [the prime minister] said while appointing project directors, it should be ensured that a single person is not given the charge of several projects.
"The premier also said only big contractors should not monopolistically control government projects. Implementations face hurdles if a single contractor is awarded several projects. It needs to be ensured that small contractors also get projects," Mannan said.
There should be widespread awareness campaigns to check the waste of water in the capital to make people understand that water is not a resource with unlimited supply, the planning minister quoted the prime minister as saying.