The construction of the Dohazari to Cox's Bazar and Ramu to Ghumdhum railway line started more than a decade ago. The deadline of the project, which kicked off in 2010, has also been extended several times.
The progress of the project so far is only 57% as the implementation is progressing at a very slow pace due to the complexity of financing and land acquisition.
Like this one the implementation of most government mega projects is going on year after year beyond the deadline. Among these, there are many important projects in the transport sector like the Padma Bridge and the Padma Bridge Rail Link.
In such a situation, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in his budget speech has expressed great hope for the mega projects but his speech did not provide any direction for their implementation.
Professor Shamsul Hoque of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology said, "We were supposed to enjoy the benefits of many projects in the communication sector now. But due to the slow implementation, these projects are depriving the people of benefits."
He said it is possible to complete many of the projects quickly if the speed is increased a little now and for this, the government monitoring has to be strengthened.
At the same time, he emphasised on ensuring allocations and disbursements.
"Ensuring modern, safe, sustainable and environment-friendly transport and communication infrastructure is of paramount importance in building Bangladesh as a developed economy," the finance minister said in his budget speech.
"To this end, our government has been working relentlessly to build an integrated domestic and international communication network through continuous and integrated investment in roads, bridges, railways, waterways and airways."
AHM Mustafa Kamal mentioned a number of completed road projects such as the Dhaka-Chattogram 4-lane Highway, the Dhaka-Mymensingh National Highway and the Nabinagar-Chandra Highway.
But none of these projects were completed on time. After a long delay, the implementation of these projects was completed.
In this reality, experts have expressed concern about when the implementation of 26 ongoing projects of the Road Transport and Highways Department will end.
Meanwhile, the finance minister expressed hope that the Padma Bridge and a part of the Metrorail (MRT-6) project would be opened to the public in June and in December next year respectively.
Reviewing the implementation pace of these two projects, experts say it is possible to complete the work on time but the government's monitoring must be strengthened.
Even in the Covid situation, strategies must be taken to complete the work in the mentioned period, they added.
Shafiqul Islam, project director of the Padma Bridge, said the implementation is underway with the aim of opening the bridge by June next year.
Although there is a shortage of foreign experts, it is expected that the target will be met, he added.
The finance minister said the construction of 46.73km Dhaka Elevated Expressway from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kutubkhali on the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway is going on in full swing.
He also said up to February 2021, about 60% of the physical progress of the 1st part (Airport-Banani) has been achieved. The overall physical progress of the entire project is 24%. The construction of a 20km bus rapid transit (BRT) lane from Gazipur to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is progressing fast.
After completing the installation of a ring of the first tube, construction of the second tube of the 3.32km Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman tunnel at the bottom of the Karnaphuli River and other construction works are progressing, and 65% of physical work has already been completed.
The construction of 24km Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Savar EPZ via Ashulia is going to be constructed by China National Import and Export Corporation (CMC) on a government-to-government (G2G) basis. Land acquisition for the project is currently underway, AHM Mustafa Kamal added.
Meanwhile, the finance minister mentioned that 77.75% work of the Khulna-Mongla railway project, which has been implemented for almost a decade, has been completed.
The finance minister said the Chattogram Port has gained recognition in the list of 100 container ports, and has ranked 64th in 2019 in just 10 years, which is 34 notches above.
He said to turn it into a world class port, the construction of the Bay Terminal on the coast of Patenga-Halishahar is underway as part of its expansion plan and it will bring down the turnaround time of vessels at the port to 24 hours from the present 36 hours.
In addition, to enhance the cargo handling capacity of Bangladesh considering the future demand for international trade, the finance minister said the "Matarbari Port Construction" project with 16 metres draft and daily container handling capacity of 8,000 TEUs is in progress.
Asked about this Md Zafar Alam, member (Admin and Planning) at the Chattogram Port Authority, said, the government will build three Bay-Container Terminal three.
He also said one of them will be constructed by the port authority. The other two will be built in public-private partnership (PPP). Now the design work is going on. At the same time, discussions are underway with various agencies to ensure funding. After that it will be possible to go to the implementation work.
After completing the tender process, the implementation work of Matarbari port construction project is targeted to start next year, he said.
He added that the construction of the port will be completed by 2025 if it is implemented as per the year-based plan.
The government is implementing various projects to increase the capacity of domestic and international airports in Bangladesh.
The finance minister said the projects include Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Expansion Project (Phase II), Communication, Navigation and Surveillance-Air Traffic Management System Radar Installation at the same airport and Sylhet Osmani International Airport Development.
The other projects are Chattogram Shah Amanat International Airport Development and Cargo Terminal Construction, Jashore Airport Development, Construction of Khanjahan Ali Airport under PPP and upgrading of runways of Syedpur, Jashore and Rajshahi airports to 10,000 feet, he added.
"We expect that implementation of these projects will bring the desired growth in aviation," said AHM Mustafa Kamal.