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Corruption in 10 high school construction project: Part - 8

2 tin-sheds at Tk six crore !

Published : 04 Jan 2020 08:58 PM | Updated : 06 Sep 2020 09:00 PM
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Except for just two tin-shed small rooms, there are no other valuable or even useable structures in a proposed site for establishing a public school in Ghorashah Majaar Road area in Ashulia in the outskirts of Dhaka district.

To everyone’s surprise the estimated cost of the two-tin-shed small rooms has been invoiced at Tk 6 crore. A syndicate of officials of a project titled, 10 new government high schools in peripheral areas of Dhaka city and adjacent districts, have been allegedly involved in producing such ‘exaggerated’ invoices for their personal monetary benefit and embezzle huge amounts of public money.

A committee primarily had selected two sites at Nabinagar area in the city’s outskirts. Three other pieces of land were also chosen. Finally, an administrative order was also issued approving final selection of the two acres of land near the Gonoshasthaya Kendra.

Mohiuddin Khan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Education, also endorsed selecting the site. However, after his transfer from the ministry, the alleged corrupt syndicate excluded the proposed site. Instead, they selected another piece of land at Ghorashah majar road for reasons unknown.

Major parts of the land are very low lying. As per the current market prices the land is reasonably cheaper. But the alleged corrupt officials produced documents in association with the land the owners to legitimize exaggerating value of the land.

To earn public acknowledgement of their ill motivated plans, they recently landfilled the low-lying site with sand so that the land appears as readily use-worthy. Against such ‘drama’ they validated their invoice producing an estimated bill of Tk 36 crore 34 lakh 19 thousand 676.

It is also learnt that the actual shape of the land is L-size. In the map however, it appears square.
Dr Md Amirul Islam is the Project Director (PD) of the project titled, ‘10 new government high schools in peripheral areas of Dhaka city and adjacent districts’.

The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education under the Secondary and Higher Education Division of the Ministry of Education is implementing the Tk 673 crore 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 officials have become desperate to increase the cost of the project to Tk 1,124 crore.

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

The proposed estimate for acquisition of 12 acres of land was around Tk 604.50 crore. The proposed cost was signed by then Land Acquisition Officer of Dhaka District Jooti Prue. A signed copy of the probable estimate was also obtained by Bangladesh Post. This probable estimate was prepared at the request of the then new high school establishment project in a bid to raise the land acquisition prices to Tk 750.50 crore in the RDPP, sources said.

When contacted, Jooti Prue admitted that he had signed the estimated copy of the documents when he was serving in that position. He said that he is not currently engaged in any affairs of the project any more. 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.

When contracted, PD of the project, Dr Md Amirul Islam said, “The estimated prices were prepared by the concerned DC office. I am not involved in the issues.” He, however, said that the estimated prices are not final at all. The Education Ministry is revising the prices.