Keeping pace with the developed world, Bangladesh is now going ahead with its economy and mega development projects moving forward despite conspiracies and odds, according to experts.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is taking the country forward ignoring all kinds of conspiracies, and amid the coronavirus crisis. And the ongoing development and strengthening of infrastructure sectors has continued changing the whole scenario of the country, placing it before the world as a ‘Role Model’.
Former World Bank Lead Economist of the Dhaka office, Zahid Hussain, while emphasizing such projects will increase productivity in post-Corona situations, told Bangladesh Post "Considering the current situation, it is necessary to think anew about the fast track mega projects.
As we have already achieved sufficiency in power generation, we should look deeply into Metro Rail, Padma Bridge, and other communication infrastructure."
“The ongoing projects that can bring positive value in the pre and post-Covid situation should continue maintaining hygiene rules and the government can offer incentives to people to engage in the construction work, so that work gets a boost,” he added.
To recover the damage caused by the coronavirus, the government's 'fast-track project monitoring taskforce' has taken various initiatives. As part of this, health protection has been ensured in the project work. For which foreigners are also returning to their workplace besides local workers.
Economic analysts said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is taking master plans one after another to take the country to the brink of development.
Once these projects are completed, the country's economy will accelerate for sure. Along with employment, economic growth will also increase.
Economist Mamun Rashid said, the government has undertaken important mega projects to build infrastructure for the development of the communication system.
For such big projects, we are witnessing huge improvements in the electricity sector. Now it is possible to generate almost 100 percent electricity demand. Metro Rail and other project works are going on. The completion of these projects will have a big impact on the economy.
In the revised Annual Development Programme (RADP), the allocation for six megaprojects was Tk30855 crore. These six projects are Metro rail, Padma Bridge, Padma bridge rail link, Dohazari-Cox's Bazar rail line via Ramu, Ramu to Ghundhum rail line, and Matarbari 1200-megawatt coal-fired power plant. Of the total, half of last year's RADP allocation has been spent.
In the report 'First track Progress' (till May of this year) prepared by the Economic Relation Department (ERD) showed such information. The report was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office in June.
About the Padma Bridge, the report said the overall progress of the project is 79.50 percent. The main construction of the bridge has advanced 87.50 percent so far. But the Department of Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation in the report said the project may not be completed within the scheduled time.
Padma Bridge Project Director Engineer Shafiqul Islam said, "Work on the project was not stopped in coronavirus either. However, it did not move forward at an expected pace.
Now the foreigners have begun to return. The pace of the project is increasing. Yet it cannot be completed by June next year. Therefore, preparations have been started for a time extension. However, it is not yet known how long it will increase.
Work on a limited scale has started inside the Metro Rail depot. Work on Operation Control Center, Depot Control Center, Workshops, Stabilization Yards (where trains will be stationed) are running in the depot area.
The work of viaduct erection and rail line installation has started on a limited scale. Officials concerned said it would take one week more to restart work in full swing.
An official in charge, on condition not to be named, said, "Thai workers on the project have returned. Chinese workers were here and they also have started working. Some of the Japanese workers have returned. Many are waiting to return. The construction work is restarting following the hygiene rules".
Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant
The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project's financial progress is 25.04 percent. Bangladesh has accepted 12 working documentation packages. Milestone Achievement Certificates have been signed for each. The Pre-inspection of three packages has already been completed.
The main construction work of the power plant is continuing at Rooppur in Pabna district, while at the same time, essential machinery is being made in Russia. Some of the machinery has already reached Bangladesh, some shipped and others are still in the manufacturing process.
Officials concerned said, despite the prevailing situation of the coronavirus, the construction work of the project has not stopped.
Architect Yeafech Osman, Minister of Science and Technology, told Bangladesh Post that the construction of the nuclear power plant is underway ensuring all necessary measures to prevent the spread of corona infection at the site, following the Bangladesh Government and WHO guidelines. In addition to the use of different types of safety equipment, everyone is tested at least three times a day for body temperature and health checkups.
“It is an international project and also a matter of honor for us. We hope at least 1200MW units of electricity from the first nuclear plant will be added to the national grid by 2023. The second with the same amount of power will be launched by 2024,” he added.
Padma bridge rail link
The project has achieved 24.43 percent physical and 30.52 percent financial progress. Its Project Director Engineer Golam Fakhruddin A Chowdhury said, "The construction work continues, but the pandemic outbreak has slowed its pace. As the foreign workers are returning, and as we have increased daily wages for our local workers, they all are returning to work. Soon we will be able to start our work at full speed".
Dohazari-Cox's Bazar rail line via Ramu, Ramu to Ghundhum rail line
The physical progress of the project is 39 percent and the financial progress is 26.75 percent. Initiatives have been taken to speed up the project as well, the concerned official said.
Matarbari coal-fired plant
The cost of implementation of the project is Tk 3598446 and scheduled to be completed by June 2023. The physical progress of the project has been 29.75 percent and the financial progress, 33.32 percent. Various initiatives have been taken to speed up project work.