Various irregularities have come to light in the housing development project for cleaners of Narayanganj City. The Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) undertook the project to improve the living conditions of cleaners of the city.
The Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) inspected the project recently and submitted a report pointing out various instances of irregularities and corruption. The report recommended action against the people responsible, including members of NCC's tender evaluation committee.
The report found anomalies to the tune of Tk16.55 crore in the housing project. It also pointed out that the project's implementing authority gave work orders to several contractors of their choice in violation of the Public Procurement Act and Public Procurement Rules.
The total project cost was estimated at Tk99.66 crore, and the estimated cost of construction of the buildings only, with 261 flats, was Tk42.17 crore. The project is being implemented at Rishipara in Narayanganj.
When Ecnec approved the project, it stipulated that the construction has to be done by an experienced contracting firm. But Narayanganj City Corporation split the package and provided work orders to three separate contractors, violating
Section 17 of the Public Procurement Rules (PPR). As a result, the building construction cost increased to Tk55.74 crore, causing a loss of Tk13.56 crore.
Usually, a tender cannot be split. But if it needs to be split for some reason, the implementing agency has to get approval from the proper authority after calculating the value of all the split packages.
Work orders were given to Khan and Sons for Tk18.38 crore, Yunus Al Mannan and Jasim Constructions for Tk18.33 crore and Kashem Constructions for Tk19 crore.
The report said that Narayanganj City Corporation's Tender Evaluation Committee and the contracting firms in collaboration with each other split the work into three parts.
Furthermore, projects worth over Tk 30 crore need to be approved by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, but the city corporation did not take approval.
The IMED report said that the construction cost of the project has been inflated and the quality of the work is also dubious.
When asked, Ashraful Islam, convenor of NCC's Tender Evaluation Committee for the housing project and superintendent engineer of Narayanganj City Corporation, said there are a lack of contractors who are financially capable of taking on such a big project in Narayanganj. This is why the work was split between three contractors.
He also said that the process of getting ministry approval for the implementation of projects worth over Tk 30 crore is too time consuming.
Mahbub Hossain, additional secretary of the Local Government Division, said, "We have not yet received the IMED report. However, if Narayanganj City Corporation violates Public Procurement Rules and commits corruption there is scope for divisional action."
The IMED report also revealed irregularities in another tender package for shifting utility equipment, demolishing buildings and constructing temporary sheds. In the approved project proposal, the cost for the work was estimated at Tk1 crore. But the Tender Evaluation Committee gave the work order to another contracting firm named Ratna Enterprise for Tk 3.98 crore.
Even though the NCC said that the work was given to separate contractors for quick implementation, the IMED report showed that only Tk1.48 crore or 1.49 percent of the total allocation was spent for the work till August 3. The project, which was started in June 2017 is scheduled to be completed by June 2021.