Cost increased, time extended, but projects go slow
Ecnec okayed five new projects, and approved proposals for extending the deadlines and increased cost of four ongoing projects
Despite escalation of cost and several time extensions, the work on two separate projects taken up in 2015 for the renovation and the improvement of the Railways' 672 level-crossings have not been completed yet.
The projects, which were scheduled to be completed by June 2017, have made only 60 percent progress even after the end of the extended deadline in June this year.
Again, the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) has cleared the way for extending the deadlines of the two railway projects by two years to June 2021.
The costs have increased by about 102 percent or Tk99.61 crore to Tk196.79 crore from the initial Tk97.18 crore.
Ecnec on Tuesday approved the projects during a meeting at the NEC conference room with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The meeting approved nine projects at an estimated cost of Tk5972.44 crore. The total funds for the projects will come from the government exchequer, said Planning Minister MA Mannan while briefing reporters after the meeting.
Ecnec okayed five new projects, and approved proposals for extending the deadlines and increased cost of four ongoing projects, said the minister.
The cost of four revised projects will rise by 43 percent to Tk3825.29 crore.
Ecnec also approved the first revision of "Ashrayan-3 (Bhasanchar Project)" at an estimated cost of Tk3094.95 crore. The project aims at resettling one lakh Rohingyas from Cox's Bazar to Bhasanchar.
The original cost of the project was Tk2312.15 crore.
The project cost has increased by Tk782.80 crore and its deadline has also been extended by two years.
The meeting approved the second revision of "Establishment of Sheikh Kamal IT Training & Incubation Centre" at an additional cost of Tk268.09 crore.
The project was scheduled to be completed by December this year at a cost of Tk265.46 crore, but was revised for completion by December 2021 at an estimated cost of Tk533.55 crore.
The cost of the project has increased by 101 percent.
While approving this project, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructed the ICT department to emphasise different languages such as Arabic, Persian, Japanese and Spanish, side by side with skill development.
The planning minister said the prime minister also gave an order to install pre-paid electricity meters in the Parliament House.
Explaining the prime minister's directive, Mannan said, "Often, there are some problems regarding electricity bills of the House."
Quoting the prime minister, Mannan said, "Prepaid meters are being installed in many parts of the country. This is an order. We need it, we think."
The minister also said, "If the people can pay bills on pre-paid meters, why not Parliament House?"
Ecnec also approved a project for the expansion and modernisation of the armed forces institute of pathology at an estimated cost of Tk240.27 crore.