Former chief engineer’s failure to ask the ministry for funds allocation necessary for project implementation has led to crisis, alleged anonymous sources at the education engineering department
A lack of funds allocation from the Ministry of Education to the Education Engineering Department has forced contractors to abandon construction of around 50 government schools in Bhola.
The construction of around 50-60 schools under the government project was already in a hiatus for the past few months on account of the countrywide lockdown enforced by the government to curb the transmission of the novel coronavirus. Now, on top of that, another delay in the much important project will push it further away from being a reality, opined concerned citizens.
This correspondent, on a visit to the construction site of GM High School in Lord Hardinge union under Lalmohan upazila, found that the contractor had halted construction work after finishing the casting of the roof of the school building.
Contractor Samad Robin said: "I have completed construction work worth Tk70 lakh under the school building project. But I have only Tk10 lakh, which I received in the last financial year, to show for it. None of my bills have been cleared in this fiscal year due to a non-allocation of funds. As a result, I have been forced to halt all construction activities.
"Usually government engineering departments receive funds at least four times a year. Accordingly, the district Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) has already received funds twice, within six months of the current financial year, once in September and again this December. But no funds have been allocated to the Education Engineering Department."
Jahangir Alam, executive engineer, Education Engineering Department (Bhola Zone), said: "Around 50-60 schools nominated under the revenue sector are being constructed all around Bhola district. However, the respective contractors of the project have decided to halt construction work on most of these schools due to the lack of funds allocation till December of the current financial year and non-payment of dues of the last few years."
Requesting anonymity, several engineers of the Education Engineering Department said there was uncertainty over the appointment of the chief engineer of the department as many aspiring candidates and lobbyists had their eyes on the prize.
The problem has arisen because the former chief engineer, Bulbul Akhtar, failed to ask the education ministry for an allocation of funds necessary for the implementation of the much important project. This was the reason why construction work at the educational institutions was now at a standstill, they alleged.