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Govt eyes accelerating mega project work

Published : 23 Jun 2020 11:01 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 12:22 PM

The government is all set to take fresh initiatives to expedite the implementation of megaprojects as it believes coronaviruspandemic cannot halt the country’s ongoing development works.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a recent ECNEC meeting said, “Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, the implementation of the projects is being hampered, but the government is trying to recover it.”

Although the works have been delayed, the project directors are now looking forward to beginningthe construction works as soon as possible.

The Covid-19 has badly hit the country’s ongoing mega projects. In the proposed budget most of the mega projects have got allocation, but the progress of the ongoing projects is stuck in the middle owing to the fact thatthe country has to count on development partners since they provide different kinds of human resource (engineers and consultants) and other logistic support(machines and other materials necessary to implement these projects).

It is to be noted, more than 20,000 citizens of several countries including China, Japan, Italy and India are working on various small and big projects in the country. According to the Chinese embassy in Bangladesh, about 15,000 of them are Chinese nationals.

Due to the spread of coronavirus, many of the foreign engineers, consultants and workers have left their work station while most of the local workers have gone to their village homes putting the possibility of finishing the projects within the stipulated time in jeopardy. Of late, letters have been sent from concerned authorities to bring them back.

However, the only exception is the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project. The construction work of this dream project did not stop even for a moment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Padma Bridge Project’s executive engineer (Bridge) Dewan Md Abdul Quader said to Bangladesh Post, “We are continuing work through group isolation system. Out of 41, 31 spans have already been installed, rest of the spans (10) will be installed on the Mawa side. If everything goes well, 32nd span is scheduled to be installed at the end of this month.”

On the other hand, Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) is testing their consultants and other workers with a view to starting their project works in full swing, official sources said.

Its managing director MAN Siddique recently said, “We are continuing some of the project works which can be done from home, and even some of the industrial works is also ongoing. However, our overall work progress has been delayed by the virus. Now, we are going to discuss with our consulting firms about howwe can speed up the project work to complete it within the stipulated time.”

Harunur Rashid Chowdhury, Project Director of Bangabandhu Tunnel, another mega project,told the Bangladesh Post that they are continuing their project work on a limited scale.

“Till now our progress is 54 percent. But our project work will soon gather full pace”, he added.
In the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2020-21, an allocation of Tk 34,266 crore has been proposed for seven mega projects. Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) is expected to receive the highest allocation of Tk 15,691 crore while Payra Deep Sea Port project may receive the lowest allocation of Tk 350 crore.

Meanwhile, an allocation of Tk 5,000 crore for the Padma Bridge construction project, 3,685 crore for the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project, 1,500 crore for construction of a single-line dual gauge track from Dohazari to Ramu via Cox's Bazar and from Ramu to Ghumdhum near Myanmar and 4,370 crore for the Metrorail-6 project have been proposed in the budget.