• Friday, Oct 22, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:18 pm

Budget FY21: Covid-19 bites into mega project funds

  • Published at 08:48 pm June 11th, 2020
Padma Bridge
File photo of Padma Bridge which is under construction since December 7, 2014 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The government has cut allocation in the mega projects at a time when those are already supposed to miss the deadline due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Allocation for the mega projects under Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges and Ministry of Railways are facing fund cuts in the proposed budget for 2020-21 fiscal year as the government has squeezed the budget to cope with the coronavirus impact.   

The government has cut allocation in the projects at a time when those are already supposed to miss the deadline due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Five fast-track projects, including much-hyped metro rail and Padma multipurpose bridge which were scheduled to be completed by 2021, have been proposed to get a lower allocation in the next fiscal year compared to the current fiscal year.

According to the proposed budget, the government has allocated Tk4,370 crore for the metro rail project, while the project saw an allocation of Tk7,212 crore in the current fiscal year, which means allocation for the project is reduced by Tk2,842 crore.

On Thursday, Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL) Managing Director MAN Siddique told Dhaka Tribune: "We are getting the expected fund.

"Despite its lower allocation than the previous year, it could not make any trouble in enhancing the progress," he said. 

Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project, a dream project of the government, is going to get Tk5,000 crore allocation in the proposed budget which is also Tk370 crore lower than the current fiscal's allocation.

Bridges Division Secretary Mohammed Belayet Hossain said: "Progress of the Padma Bridge project is being hampered due to the pandemic. The construction work was running round the clock before the pandemic. Now the work runs only in the day time. So it would not be possible to finish the work as per the deadline of June 2021. 

"We think if the pandemic continues, the proposed budget will not be used, and it will likely to be shifted to the next fiscal year [FY2021-22]," he added.   

However, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal claimed in his budget speech that construction works of the metro rail and Padma Bridge are progressing fast.

The proposed budget has allocated Tk3,885 crore for the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project which was Tk3,995 crore in the current fiscal year.

Similarly, the allocation for the Karnaphuli tunnel project and Chittagong-Cox's Bazar Rail Link project has been reduced due to slower progress of the projects.

In FY2020-21, the size of the total expenditure has been estimated at Tk568,000 crore, which is 17.9% of GDP (gross domestic product). 

Total allocation for operating and other expenditures is estimated at Tk362,855 crore, while the allocation for the annual development program (ADP) is Tk205,145 crore.

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