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Dhaka Tribune

PM Hasina: Action against all, even retired officials over irregularities

With the latest delay, Kushtia Medical College construction cost stands at Tk682.46 crore 

Update : 05 Oct 2021, 05:59 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that no one, not even retired officials, will be spared over irregularities.

She ordered disciplinary action against everyone responsible for the delay in the construction of Kushtia Medical College, even if they have retired, Planning Minister MA Mannan told the media after an Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) meeting on Tuesday.

The prime minister has given strict instructions regarding the construction of the medical college after a final notice was issued regarding its completion, said the minister.

According to the minister, the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (Imed) launched an investigation and finally submitted its report over the alleged irregularities in the work of the medical college project, reports UNB.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the chair of Ecnec, ordered the planning ministry to initiate punitive action against every individual associated with the delay even if they have retired from office, Mannan said.

She also asked the implementing agencies to complete the work on the project within the new timeframe, he added.

The committee approved the second revised proposal for the construction at a cost of over Tk682.46 crore.

Previously, the project, proposed to be completed within 2014 at a cost of Tk275.43 crore,  was approved in 2012.

The completion deadline was extended till 2015 and 2016 in two instances at the initial cost.

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However, the deadline was later extended to December 2019 at a cost of Tk611.84 crore but the project still was not completed.

With the latest delay, the project cost stands at Tk682.46 crore, to be completed within 2023.

The Ecnec meeting approved a total of nine projects with the overall estimated cost of Tk6,551.27 crore (only additional costs of the revised projects were counted here).

“Of the total cost, Tk3,742.29 crore will be drawn from the government portion, while Tk26.22 crore will come from the fund of organizations concerned and the rest of Tk2,782.76 crore as project assistance from foreign sources,” said the Planning Minister.

Among the nine projects, four are new, while five are revised ones.

Bangabandhu Tunnel

MA Mannan said the Ecnec meeting was informed that work on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman tunnel under the Karnaphuli Tunnel is likely to be completed well ahead of the stipulated time frame of December 2022.

Out of the two channels of the tunnel, the work on one channel has already been completed and that of another channel is likely to be completed soon, most likely on Friday, he said.

“Hopefully, the work on the tunnel will be completed well before December 2022…..it’s a matter of great pleasure for the government,” he said, adding that the project didn’t require any revision.

The prime minister said if foreign funding is not available against development projects, then the government could go for using its sound foreign currency reserves, he mentioned. 

Fresh Projects 

Among the fresh projects, the meeting approved a Tk1435.89 crore project to upgrade the Tangail-Delduar-Louhati-Saturia-Kawalipara-Kalampur stand road to a regional highway. The Roads and Highways Department, under the Road Transport and Highways Division, will implement the project in Tangail by December 2023.

Three other fresh projects are Establishment of two agricultural training institutes in Jagannathpur and Mohonganj upazilas at Tk356.08 crore; Riverbank protection, re-excavation of small rivers, canals, beels, addressing waterlogging at Pirganj upazila in Rangpur at Tk165.59 crore; and riverbank protection on the both sides of the Kirtinasha River at Shariatpur at Tk319.33 crore.

Of the revised project, the Ecnec cleared the first revision of Sayedabad Water Plant (Phase-III), increasing its cost to Tk7,518 crore from Tk4,597 crore and extending the deadline to June 2025 due to complications in availing of funds and legal complexities.

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According to the fact sheet provided by the Planning Commission, the reasons behind the revision of Sayedabad Water Plant (Phase-III) include complexity in getting funds from development partners, filing a writ petition with the High Court by Aman Group, concerns of development partners over industrial activities on the banks of the Meghna River and its water pollution, inflation, expanding scope of work.

In the original project, the cost was Tk4,597.36 crore and the project timeframe was July 2015 to June 2020. But the cost has now increased to Tk7,518.03 crore and the project deadline has been extended to June 2025.

The main objective of the project is to decrease dependency on underground water by the construction of a surface water treatment plant with 450-MLD capacity.

The major operations under the projects include construction of surface water treatment plant with 450 MLD capacity and Intake Pumping Station with 950 MLD, installation of 52.8-km transmission line and 54-km distribution line, and acquisition of 34.31 acres of land.

The other revised projects are Boropukuria-Bogura-Kaliakoir 400kv line (1st revised) at an additional cost of Tk729.89 crore; erection of railway track from Khulna to Mongla Port (2nd revised) at an additional cost of Tk459.27 crore; and agriculture weather information system development (1st revised) at an additional cost of Tk93.18 crore.

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