Thursday, August 13, 2020 | ePaper

Delay in Saidabad WTP is nothing new, more delay means more corruption

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DHAKA WASA's Saidabad Water Treatment Plant (WTP) Project (phase 111) has suffered a five years delay when its cost soared by 68 percent because of a rise in cost of equipment and construction materials. The project initially started in 2015 at a cost of Tk 45.97 billion and was scheduled to be completed in 2020. Now its cost has soared to Tk 77.14 billion while WASA has sought revision of the project cost and the time frame up by five years till 2025.
Reports said three donor agencies offered to provide fund for the project but complexities in fulfilling some of their conditions and failure of one of the donors to fully live up with the funding pledge has caused the setback to timely implementing the project. Meanwhile, Dhaka WASA started its implementation in haste on pressure from certain vested quarters in the government even without receiving donors' formal commitment for the fund.  Their pressure was reportedly so compelling to secure contracts for some multinationals which forced WASA to step into the trap. Removing donors' reservation on the level of pollution of Meghna waters also cost up to four years till 2019 when the project funding remained on halt.    
The planning Commission is now working on the revision of the project giving the time and cost over-run. But what makes one to wonder is who should be blamed for the loss of precious time and city dwellers suffering for drinking and for huge additional cost it needs now to end the project. There is none to come up with the answers.
As it appears that our government totally lacks accountability for being totally dependent on bureaucracy while bureaucrats feel quite free from answering questions. They behave like owners of government funds while our watchdog bodies are incompetent to demand accountability because they are also part our corrupt political and administrative system. Here tax payers finally pay for every misuse of resources while ministers, MPs, project directors and other officials enjoy lavish financial benefits and frequent trips abroad.  
The government now means governmental business to get rich overnight from big contracts and unearned income many ways.  People are now undone as they have lost the right to elect the government.

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