The time to complete the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hi-Tech Park in Rajshahi is going to be extended for one year again, increasing the costs of the project by Tk35-Tk40 crore.
The Bangladesh Hi-tech Park Authority has already applied to the planning commission for an extension of another year as construction of the park has not been completed in scheduled time.
AKAM Fazlul Haque, project director of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hi-Tech Park, said 70 percent of the park has already been completed. The work remained suspended for three months due to Covid-19 in 2020, he said.
The work was further delayed for a few months due to floods last year, he added.
Overall, the construction was stopped for six to seven months last year, and so it was not possible to complete the work by 2021, he continued.
"We have applied to the planning commission for an extension of one more year to complete the work and this has also been verbally approved by the ministry. It will increase the construction cost by another Tk35-Tk40 crore," said the project director.
The scheduled time given for building the 12-storey Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hi-Tech Park, encompassing around 12.54 hectares of land in Zianagar of Rajshahi city, was from July 2016 to June 2019.
At that time, the cost of the project was fixed at Tk238 crore.
Later, the time to complete the construction was extended to June 2021 as the project was not completed on time, which increased costs by around Tk49 crore.
The project director told The Business Standard the reasons for the time extensions of the project period and the increase in costs.
He said the government order was issued one year after the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) meeting approved the project in December 2016.
It took another year to acquire the project site following other relevant procedures after getting the government order, he continued.
There were slums in the project site, where 742 families lived and it took one year to rehabilitate them through the district administration, he said.
Thus, two years passed before construction could even begin, he added.
Also, Fazlul Haque said costs kept increasing as new things were added to the project plan.
A cineplex and auditorium were not initially included in the project plan when it was approved the first time and the IT park was being built on low land which had to be filled, he went on.
But then the area became too high and caused waterlogging, so they had to build a drain there, which was not in the plan, he elaborated.
A road inside the park had to be widened from 1,300 metres to 1,800 metres which increased costs further, he added.
"The costs will increase further due to the construction of a drain adjacent to the road, taking gas, electricity and water connections underground, building the Bangabandhu Museum and mosque, and several other issues. Besides, we have to build a sewage treatment plant now, though it was not included in the plan earlier," said Fazlul Haque.
The park aims to create prospects for ICT-based entrepreneurship in the region and generate knowledge-based employment.
With completion of the park, 14,000 people are expected to be employed there, according to people concerned.
Seven plots have also been allocated in the park for local and foreign investors.