LGED officials themselves said that the cost projected for the various development projects titled ‘Urban development and city governance’ are just ‘hypothetical‘ estimates. The LGED has, under the same project, shown higher estimates for construction of bridges, overpasses and flyovers, software development and consultancy fees. The planning commission has sent back the LGED project proposal for showing such an unrealistic estimation of the development projects.
LGED has taken up infrastructure development projects in Narayanganj, Gazipur, Cumilla city corporation areas and Cox’s Bazar municipality area at a cost of Tk 34.47 billion (Tk 3,447 crore). Of the total amount, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will finance Tk 22.15 billion (Tk 2,215 crore) and Tk 12.32 billion (1,232 crore) will come from the public exchequer. Irregularities, wastage of fund and corruption in development project is rife in our country. Things get even worse when foreign funds are involved in development projects.
The planning minister himself expressed his dissatisfaction over corruption in implementing development projects. He said, “I’m questioned about corruption wherever I go. I become humiliated and irritated. Corruption is a criminal matter.” We cannot be assured that such strong words form the minister has done anything to deter the corrupt officials.
Not only in cost estimation, corruption also takes place in the implementation phase of development projects through under-the-table dealings between project directors and contractors. The project director overlooks if the contractor supplies substandard construction materials. They often pay the contractors bills for the work even before the work is finished. Most of the projects do not get completed within the stipulated time, resulting in an increase in project cost.
We think that only sending back the project proposal of LGED is not enough. Those who have shown such a huge amount of cost estimation should be held accountable. Public money is being wasted in the name of development projects in other ministries and departments of the government also. Such malpractice cannot be condoned.