Wednesday, November 20, 2019 | ePaper

Don't pave way for corruption in the name of development projects

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THE estimated cost of constructing the third terminal at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport by increasing 40 percent reached at Tk 20,598 crore. The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase on Wednesday approved the project at a cost which is much higher than what had been estimated at the outset. The ECNEC in 2017 approved the project worth Tk 13,610 crore. The practice of cost overrun has become a regular phenomenon - from mega projects to small road repairing - that ultimately gives opportunity to a section of dishonest officials and ruling party-backed contractors to gobble up public money.
Finance Minister said the Cabinet body approved the project proposal under the condition that the Ministry concerned would take ECNEC approval by submitting the details of the additional cost in a revised proposal. Of the total amount, Japan International Cooperation Agency will finance around Tk 15,000 crore while the government will provide the rest. However, Civil Aviation Authority explained that a separate cargo village would be included with the plan and firefighting equipment to be replaced by new.
Around 130 domestic and international flights carrying 25,000-30,000 passengers use the HSIA every day. Around 70 lakh passengers and 1.6 crore luggage are handled by the Airport every year. But there are only eight luggage conveyor belts in the two international terminals. Besides, ticket of Biman Bangladesh Airlines alone increased to 110 percent in the last five years for domestic and international routes. We observe the same characteristics in HSIA expansion project which was seen in some other highly-publicised mega projects. The Padma Bridge Rail Link project was taken in 2016 at a cost of Tk 34,000 crore that increased to Tk 39,246 crore in the meantime. The main Padma Bridge project was taken in 2010 at a cost of Tk 10,000 crore, which now crossed Tk 30,000 crore. There is no need to expand the list.  
It's clear to all that in absence of any overseeing authorities the cost overrun ultimately ends to corruption. Such practice must end.

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