Tk 130 million (13 crore) for each deep tube well

Under the project, the LGED has proposed Tk 1.18 billion (118.17 crore) to install five deep tube wells in Cox's Bazar municipality and two each in Narayanganj and Cumilla city corporations and supply water from these tube wells in these areas. Officials at the planning ministry said no reason was mentioned in the project for such inflated cost on the instalment of nine deep tube wells and the supply of water.

When asked why has an estimated cost of more than Tk 130 million (13 crore) been taken to sink a deep tube well, project director Golam Mustafa told Prothom Alo that it’s just an estimated cost. Expenditure will be finalised after appointing the international consultant.

“We will supply water like the Water Supply and Sewerage Authority does. We will do the entire work from installing deep tube well to supplying water to the customers,” he added.

Usually, the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) does the work of sinking deep tube well in municipality areas.

When asked, project director of the water supply in 40 municipalities project Sarwar Hossain told Pothom Alo that if water is distributed at customer level after installing a water purification plant for surface water, it will cost Tk 70-100 million (7-10 crore). On the other hand, a project is taken to supply underground water to several hundred people through pipeline by sinking a deep tube well, it will cost about Tk 5 million (50 lakh) in total, he added.

Terminal expansion and construction

Expansion of two bus terminals and construction of a new terminal has been proposed under the Urban Development and City Governance project with an estimated cost of Tk 1.52 billion (152 crore). Tk 506.6 million (50.66 crore) will be spent for each terminal. The planning commission raised questions on how the estimation was made without finalising the layout or design of these bus terminals.

The LGED proposed an expenditure of 1.01 billion (101 crore) to relocate the bus terminal from Shasongasa area to Alekharchar area of Cumilla city corporation to reduce traffic jam in the city and expand the Jangalia bus terminal in the city.

Executive engineer of Cumilla City Corporation Abu Syem Bhuiyan told Prothom Alo that land acquisition and its development will have to be carried out to construct the bus terminal in Alekharchar plus the construction of other infrastructures.

On the other hand, panel mayor of Cox’s Bazar municipality said its existing bus terminal will be expanded on the municipality land at an estimated cost of Tk 510 million (51 crore).

Tk 1.95 billion (195 crore) for roads stretching 6km

The LGED has planned to construct roads stretching 6 kilometres in three city corporations and a municipality with an estimated cost of Tk 1.95 billion (195 crore). As per estimation, Tk 325 million (32.5 crore) will be spent for a kilometre of road. The planning commission termed the cost excessive and ordered to carry out detailed feasibility study and set the proposed expenditure accordingly.

A 630-metre railway overpass and an 800-metre flyover in Narayangaj city corporation, a 630-metre railway overpass in Gazipur City Corporation, a 100-metre bridge on Turag river in Tongi will be constructed under the project.

Software development project

Besides, development of 75 software has been proposed for three city corporations and a municipality with cost of a little over Tk 20 million (2 crore) and Tk 2.7 million (27 lakh) for each software. The planning commission observed that more expenditure has been shown here too.

Regarding this, project director of software development Golam Mustafa told Prothom Alo that these software will be built to ensure transparency and accountability of the work. Separate software will be used for city corporations’ wealth management, tax collection and land assessment, he added.

Tk 3.73 billion (373 crore) for consultancy fees

Sources said an expenditure of Tk 3.73 billion (373 crore) has been proposed as consultancy fees. The planning commission raised question s to why such a huge amount of taka has been proposed in a local project.

Golam Mustafa said, “We have sought the design and detailed feasibility study from the city corporations and we are waiting for it.” Why was the necessary work not carried out before sending the proposal to the planning commission? In reply to the query, he said work is underway and the consultant of JICA estimated these costs for various sectors.

Expenditure for other activities under the project as follows; Tk 5.46 billion (546 crore) for land acquisition, Tk 5.22 billion (522 crore) for engineering and machineries, Tk 3.6 billion (360 crore) for constructing sewerage system, Tk 3.16 billion (316 crore) for land filling and waste management, Tk 7.1 million (71 crore) for streetlights, Tk 5 million (50 crore) for shed and playground and Tk million (60 crore) for outsourcing.

Regarding the overall issues, former director general of the public procurement body, Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU), Faruk Hossain told Prothom Alo that government officials don’t have any idea about the market price of products and equipment. Price of products is estimated without verifying it in the market. If budget is made by sitting on the table and not going to the market, product price in project will obviously be abnormal comparing to the market price, he added.

*This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna.