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Corruption in 10- high school construction project: Part 4

Biggest ever corruption attempt!

Published : 11 Dec 2019 09:33 PM | Updated : 06 Sep 2020 09:00 PM

The biggest ever corruption attempt in the history of the country has reportedly been unearthed in the 10 new government high school project in preferential areas of Dhaka city and adjacent districts.

Tk 60 crore was proposed as the probable estimate for only around thirty small trees, a very small tin shed temporary guard room and old brick wall. If it is finalized, around Tk 2 crore will be required for each small tree, which is completely unimaginable.

More than Tk 358 crore was proposed as the estimated cost for acquiring just two acres of land for a single high school.  

In the Development Project Proposal ( DPD), the total cost of the project was Tk 673.46 crore. But in order to embezzle major funds  of the project, a corrupt syndicate is desperately trying to send Revised Development Project Proposal (RDPP) to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) for allocating Tk 1,124 crore.

Project insiders alleged that most of the corruption will occur in the land acquisition process.

In the DPP, Tk 400 crore was allocated for 20 acres land acquisition for ten new high schools.   But in the RDPP, around  Tk 750.50 crore was proposed for the same amount of land for the same numbers of schools.

According to the DPP, a school will be established at a Joarshahara of Khilkhet area in the capital.

The proposed land is very near to the newly built  naval base BNS Sheikh Mujib.

While visiting the land on Wednesday morning , this correspondent saw that  there are at best thirty  small trees on one side of the proposed site. 

Around one-fourth of the land is low land.  There are some walls around the lower part of the land. A very small and temporary tin-shed house is also built at the lower part of the land.

Other parts of the land were recently filled with sand.  As the probable estimated cost of the 2 acres of land, Tk 298,56,60,000 ( Two hundred ninety eight crore, fifty six lakh and sixty thousand) was calculated.

However, this cost was estimated at 200% percent extra of the actual land price , which might be calculated as the compensation for acquisition of the private land.

But more surprises await. This correspondent counted a total of twenty six small trees on the two acres of land. But in the proposal estimate, Tk 60 crore was calculated for these small trees, a very small tin-shed building and wall.

The proposed estimate for acquisition of 12 acres land was Tk 604,49,74,944 ( Six hundred four crore forty nine lakh seventy four thousand nine hundred forty four).

The proposal estimate   was signed by then Land Acquisition Officer of Dhaka District  Jooti Prue. A signed copy  of the probable  estimate was also collected by Bangladesh Post.

This probable estimate was prepared at the request of the  ten new high school establishment project in a bid to raise the land acquisition cost to Tk 750.50 crore in the RDPP, sources said.

When contacted,  Jooti Prue admitted that he had signed the probable estimate when he was at the post. He said  that he is not currently looking at the issue.

However, he claimed that this estimate is not final at all. Before finalizing the acquisition, officials from various government departments will make field visits to the sites to prepare a joint inventory.

The Project Director (PD) of 10 new government high schools in pereferal areas of Dhaka city and adjacent districts  is Dr Md Amirul Islam, the PD, a 20th BCS Education cadre officer, and currently an associate professor-5th grade. The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education under the Secondary and Higher Education Division of the Ministry of Education is implementing the project from July 2017. Even though a maximum of two percent of the project work has so far been completed, the PD along with his corrupt syndicate has become desperate to increase the cost to 1,124 crore.

This correspondent on Wednesday called Amirul Islam over phone several times to get his comment. But he could not be reached.

(This the fourth part of a series report)