It will charge huge tax burden on the nation
Zahid Hossain Biplob: Considering the necessity in developing infrastructure and economy, the government is implementing ten mega projects across the country but the expectation of people regarding the progress under Fast Track Project Scheme (FTPS) is shattering mainly for the typical bureaucratic complexities.
Expectation for the implementation is high but reality at a snail’s pace resulting immense public suffering and agonising state of mind. At the same time, the expenditure of projects is increasing for unnecessary delay.
According to think-tank, the progress of ten development mega projects is far from satisfactory level. The government has to implement any project within the time frame, which is reversing in the context of Bangladesh since the independence of the country, they added.
The bureaucratic complexities are one of the major obstacles to implement any project under any government, they claimed.
However, the snail-paced progress indicated that the proper implementation of the ten mega projects will take more times because of the poor capacity of the government, claimed the experts.
The ten mega projects are: Padma Bridge, Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Rampal Coal-fired Power Plant, Sonadia Deep Sea Port, Dhaka Mass Rapid Development Transit Project, Moheshkhali LNG Terminal, Moheshkhali-Matarbari Integrated Infrastructure Development Project, Payra Sea Port, Padma Bridge Rail Link and construction of Rail track between Chattogram with Cox’s Bazar.
The government identified these projects as mega ones and brought them under first track project monitoring taskforce for higher economic growth of the country. (See Page-2)
Experts indentified many reasons for delaying of the project implementation including inadequate estimations related with budgets, timeframes and incapable human resources. Apart from this, task complexity, unexpected events, organisational strategy and lack of coordination of the authorities concerned are hindering to make the mega projects expedite promptly.
Of the government’s 10 top-priority infrastructure projects, only the Padma Bridge has made a significant progress which is not applicable for the remaining nine projects.
Construction works of Padma Multipurpose Bridge and Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant have been completed about 62 percent and 40 percent respectively, according to sources.
On the other hand, Metro Rail project witnessed only 16 percent implementation while Padma Rail Link, Matarbari Coal-fired Power Plant, and Rail Track between Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar are going at snail’s pace.
However, the protagonists of these projects expected that they will be able to complete work within the stipulated time set by the government.
The rhetoric Padma Bridge is considered one of the fast track projects of the government. Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project Director M Shafiqul Islam while contacted yesterday told Daily Industry that “The overall progress of the work of the project is 62 percent till November last year. So far, Tk16,795.80 crore has been spent out of Tk 30,193 crore project.”
The government allocated Tk 4,395.66 crore for the project in the Annual Development Program (ADP) of financial year 2018-19. Construction work of the approach road at Jajira and Mawa points along with service area has already been completed, he said. “With the installation of the sixth span of the bridge, over 925 metres of the main bridge is now visible”
He said each span of the bridge is 150 metres long and a total of 41 spans will be installed on 42 pillars, he added.
The Metro Rail project has been undertaken to resolve traffic congestion in Dhaka with the financial loan under the assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Estimated cost of the construction is Tk 21,985 crore.
Aftabuddin Talukder, project director told Daily Industry that, “The two parts relocation work (before construction work) of the line has already been completed last week. The first part is from Uttara to Agargaon and the second part is from Agargaon to Motijheel. Though the timeframe of the construction has been extended up to 2024, the government wants to inaugurate the first phase (Uttara-Agargaon) by December this year.
Dohazari- Ramu Dual Gauge Rail Link:
Bangladesh Railway (BR) is implementing the Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar rail link project at a cost of Tk 18.34 billion.
Abul Kalam Chowdhury, deputy project director yesterday told Daily Industry that acquisition of total 1367 acres of land has already been completed and now the earthing work is going on in full swing. The project will be completed by 2022.
The project is being jointly executed by China Railway Engineering Corporation, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, Toma Construction Company and Max Infrastructure Ltd. BR data says only 13 percent of the project has been accomplished till now. However, they are hopeful of visible development soon.
Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant:
The biggest project of the country in terms of financial expenditure is the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. The power plant construction cost has been estimated at $12.65 billion, of which $11.38 billion will be provided by Russian Government. First unit’s concrete pouring was inaugurated on November 30 last year while second unit concrete pouring was on July 14 this year. The first unit was scheduled for inauguration by 2021, but due to less development now it has been rescheduled for 2024.
Project chief engineer Mahmud Hossain said 70 percent development has been made so far of the first phase project.
Rampal Coal-fired Power Plant:
Coal-based power plant is being implemented in Rampal of Bagerhat by India-Bangladesh joint venture. If the project runs accordingly, it would capable to generate 1,320 megawatt power through two units. The cost of the project has been estimated at Tk 14,999 crore.
Anwarul Azim, Public relations officer of the project yesterday told Daily Industry that only 40 percent of the physical progress has been completed so far and hoped that by December 2020 first unit of the project will be visible.
The Exim Bank of India offers 70 percent loan assistance to the project. According to the agreement, the project will start in December next year. But according to the report during August, only 40 percent of the physical progress has been completed so far. As a result, the project has been rescheduled for 2021.
Matarbari Coal Power Plant:
Md Golam Kibria, project director and managing director of the Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (CPGCBL) while contacted told Daily Industry that with the power generation capacity of 1,200-MW. The Matarbari Coal-fired power plant is being constructed at Maheshkhali upazila of Cox’s Bazar. The construction cost of two units of 600-MW each is estimated at Tk 35,984 crore. Japan will provide Tk 28,939 crore loan assistance to implement the project. According to the contract, the first unit of the project will be completed by January 2024. Sources said, so far only 20 percent work has been completed.
Sonadia Deep Sea Port:
To make the country a regional hub through the establishment of the port and cater to the need of neighbouring countries the government has taken up initiatives to construct a deep sea port at Sonadia. But work of the port has not yet started.
Abdus Sattar, deputy secretary (Port) of the Shipping Ministry while contacted yesterday over phone said that the project is yet on the table.
Another official of the Ministry wishing not to be named told Daily Industry that the government has failed to reach a consensus on setting up the deep-seaport at Sonadia, considering its possible environment impact.
Mentioned that the government earlier decided to set up the seaport investing an estimate US$ 2.23 billion in the first phase to make it operational within 5 years from the start of construction. To that end, a cell called ‘Deep Seaport Cell’ was inaugurated on August 26, 2010. Earlier in January 2011, plans were made to complete the first phase by 2016. The second phase was assumed to complete by 2035 while the third phase by 2055.
With achieving only 30 percent progress, the construction of Karnaphuli Multi-Lane Tunnel is going on at a slow pace. But, project director Harun-Or Rashid Chowdhury yesterday hoped to Daily Industry that by December 2022 construction work of the project will be completed.
According to Planning Commission sources, the project officials have proposed to increase the expenditure to Tk 10,391 crore and to reschedule it for December 2022.
First LNG Import Terminal
The maiden consignment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) reached Moheshkhali from Qatar to supply imported gas to the national network in April 23 last year.
According to official sources, the very first consignment of LNG reached Chattogram through the Excelerate Energy’s floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU). The FSRU, generally known as the LNG terminal which was set up on a floating vessel with storage and re-gasification facilities, will permanently station in Moheshkhali.
Mohammad Quamruzzaman, managing director of Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL) said, RPGCL, a subsidiary of state-owned Petrobangla, is responsible for the import of LNG and supply of the gas to the national network through a re-gasification process. The import of LNG was initiated more than seven years ago. But with the arrival of a first consignment, the government has achieved success in its LNG import efforts to meet the gas shortage added Quamruzzaman.
The project is a result of the collaboration between Excelerate Energy, Petrobangla, and International Finance Corporation (IFC), who is mandated to provide and arrange the required financing for the terminal. Excelerate Energy developed and will operate the terminal for 15 years, after which the company will transfer ownership to Petrobangla allowing for continued realization of its benefits.
Payra Sea Port:
Work of country’s third largest sea port, Payra Port, began in November 2013 and was supposed to complete in June 2018. But later it was rescheduled for June 2023.
Mohiuddin Ahmed Khan, director (admin) of the port on contacted told Daily Industry that first phase work of the port including acquisition of 7000 acres of land, rehabilitation of the witnesses, purchasing of 7 vessels, 5 km of four lane Sheikh Hasina Road and construction of administrative building has already been completed.
Besides, in a big leap forward, the Payra Port Authority (PPA) in Jan 14 signed a deal with a Belgium-based company to start capital dredging of the port’s main channel to facilitate entries of large ships at the Chattogram and Mongla ports from Payra Port.
The dredging of the 75 kilometre long and 100 to 125 metres wide channel is expected to begin in the next six months. The estimated cost is Tk 8,643 crore (€864.32 million), he said.
Mohiuddin said the government has set three targets to build the port fully. These are: bringing clinker, fertilizer and other bulk cargo vessels in the outer area of the port and transporting inside the country through the lighter vessel, constructing at least one container terminal and a bulk terminal at Payra port by 2018, and by establishing other accessory facilities step by step within 2021.
Experts are however opined that slower than expected rate of implementation is a concern for the ongoing projects. The expected benefits are significantly affected by delays. When the idea of constructing the Padma Bridge was floated by the present government, it was forecasted that this bridge alone would increase the GDP growth by an astonishing 1.2 percent while the project cost was estimated at less than Tk 10,000 cr. Unfortunately, with time, the cost has increased at least threefold and implementation is delayed by a few years, they added.
“In order to make optimal use of local resources as well as to make best use of foreign loans, there must be a long term planning for the continued development of our country,” adding the experts said, “We must have a vision of our future and plan accordingly.” Most importantly, there must be a general consensus regarding such long term plans. In order to have steady and sustainable development, policymakers must be in consensus about such plans regardless of their political ideology.