Ministries and divisions have sought more allocations for four fast-track projects in the revised Annual Development Programme (ADP) of the current financial year because of good progress while proposing allocation cuts for three due to slow implementation.
Additional allocations have been sought for the Padma rail link project, Matarbari coal power station and two projects involving Payra deep sea port.
On the other hand, a reduction in allocations for Padma Bridge, Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and Dohazari-Cox's Bazar rail line projects has been proposed.
The total allocation for the projects in the current financial year was Tk35,791 crore. In the revised ADP, reducing the allocation to Tk29,424 crore has been proposed.
The allocation for MRT-6, another fast-track project, will remain unchanged.
Planning Commission officials said project-based demand had been sought from various ministries and divisions in order to prepare the revised ADP.
The Economic Relations Division (ERD) sent a revised allocation of assistance for foreign-funded projects to the Planning Commission last week.
Md Sayduzzaman, joint head of the Planning Commission's Programming Division (Agricultural, Industry & Coordination Wing), said the revised ADP would be finalised after receiving all revised allocation proposals.
"Priority projects are given allocations as per demand of the ministries and divisions concerned. There will be no exception this time."
The target had been to spend Tk5,000 crore on the Padma Bridge project in the current financial year. But halfway into the year, the Bridges Division thinks it is not possible to spend so much money by year-end.
It has thus proposed reducing the allocation by Tk2,099 crore.
Although 100% of the bridge is now visible, with all the spans having been installed in December, the Bridges Division says it will take another year for the bridge to be opened to traffic after the installation of sleepers.
Padma Bridge Project Director Md Shafiqul Islam told The Business Standard it was not possible to spend money as per target due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Floods have also reduced expenditure. That is why allocation reduction has been proposed in the revised ADP."
But the Railways Ministry has proposed increasing the Padma rail connection project allocation since the pace of implementation has accelerated.
"That is why an additional allocation of Tk1,801 crore has been sought,"said Project Director Golam Fakhruddin A Chowdhury.
The Science and Technology Ministry has proposed reducing the Rooppur nuclear power plant project allocation by Tk5,525 crore. Project officials said the proposal was made as it would not be possible to spend money as per target.
In the current ADP, the allocation for the Rooppur project is Tk15,691 crore. In the first five months of the financial year, only Tk1,659 crore – 11% of the allocation – was spent.
As for the Uttara-Motijheel metro rail project, keeping the expenditure target unchanged has been proposed in the revised ADP.The project was allocated Tk5,543 crore in the current financial year and Tk995 crore was spent till December.
Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Company officials said work had resumed after a halt due to the pandemic, but many Japanese consultants had not yet come to Bangladesh. However, they are expected to arrive soon.
They said the project was still progressing slowly but would gather pace during the rest of the financial year while costs would also increase, and that is why no reduction in the allocation was proposed.
Meanwhile, there has been little progress in the Dohazari-Cox's Bazar rail line project as land acquisition complexities could not be resolved even in 10 years. As a result, the allocation cannot be spent and is returned every year.
That is why reducing the allocation by Tk510 crore was proposed in the current financial year. Till November, only Tk222 crore was spent.
Project Director Mofizur Rahman said land acquisition complexities could not be resolved even after various initiatives were taken.
Expenditure is increasing in Matarbari coal power plant project as its implementation has accelerated. Only 30% of the allocation was spent in the first three months of the current financial year, which went up to 42% at the end of five months.
That is why the Power Division has sought an additional allocation of Tk68 crore.
Allocation for the Payra port infrastructure development has been proposed to be increased from Tk350 crore to Tk800 crore. Additionally, it has been proposed that the port's first terminal construction project allocation be increased from Tk350 crore to Tk600 crore.