The proposal to increase the cost and deadline of Kushtia Medical College and Hospital project was turned down at the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday.
Planning Minister MA Mannan and Planning Commission's Physical Infrastructure Division member Abul Kalam Azad briefed reporters about the project after the meeting.
The planning minister said the project has been under implementation for eight years but the progress is low. The prime minister has asked for an investigation report on the project and a decision on the project will be taken only after receiving the report.
Financial aspects of the project and the quality of all types of construction materials will be checked. The Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) and other government agencies will be given this responsibility, the minister added.
Abul Kalam Azad said evidence of corruption had been found earlier in the construction of Kushtia Medical College and Hospital and actions had also been taken against some officials involved in the corruption.
He added that the cost of the project was estimated at Tk275 crore in 2012, which increased to Tk611 crore in the first amendment and this time the proposed expenditure is Tk682 crore.
Although the project was supposed to be completed in 2014, the deadline was extended till 2019 in three phases. The second amendment proposed to extend the project till 2023, he informed.
So far, the financial progress of the project is 36% and the physical progress is 55%.
In 2018, the roof of Kushtia Medical College and Hospital building collapsed due to the construction of buildings with low-quality materials, causing deaths.
According to the IMED report, the project implementing agency, Department of Health has constructed all the buildings at its whim by changing the design approved by the Ecnec. At the same time, the work order has been taken by increasing the price.
The report also reads the foundation of the hospital building has been made on 1.38 lakh square feet instead of 1.55 lakh square feet, 17,000 square feet less than the approved design.
The hospital building was supposed to be a seven-storey one on a 10-storey foundation, but it has been made a three-storey one on a 10-storey foundation. Although Tk112.80 crore was allocated for the building, an agreement of Tk92 crore was made with the implementing organisation. Eventually, the building collapsed.
The prime minister attended the meeting from Gana Bhaban and other ministers and secretaries from the National Economic Council conference room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital.
At the Ecnec meeting on Tuesday, six projects worth Tk9,569 crore were approved.
Approved projects include construction of modern information complex at district level, the Sundarbans protection project, search, rescue and communication equipment collection during an earthquake and other disasters, district highway development in Sylhet zone, construction of Chattogram City Outer Ring Road, and Covid-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness project.