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The three-year project is stalling in 10 years, the expenditure is increasing by thousands of crores

In 2014, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the project ‘Excavation of canal from Bahaddarhat Baripara to Karnafuli river’. It was supposed to be implemented in just three years. But the project implementing agency Chittagong City Corporation failed to implement it on time.

The current implementation period of the three-year project is 10 years. With that, the expenditure is increasing by 1 thousand 35 crore 8 lakh taka.

The project will be taken up for second amendment at the ECNEC meeting on Tuesday (April 19), Planning Commission sources said. The Second Amendment proposes to increase both the duration and cost of the project. The Local Government Department’s ‘Excavation of canal from Bahaddarhat Baripara to Karnafuli river’ project has been cited as a number of reasons besides delay in land acquisition due to non-implementation on time.

According to the concerned, the original approved cost of the project was Tk 328.64 crore. Through the First Amendment, the project cost Tk 1,256.15 crore in one go. At present, the second amendment proposal stands at Tk 1,382.62 crore. Of this amount, Tk 1,294.46 crore will be spent from government funds and Tk 8 crore 13 lakh from the company’s own funds.

The concerned people further said that the original approved time of the project was from July 2014 to June 2018. The first amendment then extended the duration of the project to June 2020. Due to the Covid situation, the project was extended for another year until June 2021, without increasing the cost of the project. At present, the second amendment proposal has proposed to extend the project to June 2024.

The objective of the project is to increase the civic amenities of the city dwellers by eliminating waterlogging by digging canals. To develop communication system by constructing roads and sidewalks on both sides of the canal. Traffic congestion and recreational facilities will be created and socio-economic conditions will be improved.

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The main activities of the project are: acquisition of 2,517 percent land, compensation of 6,153 square meters of building, 2.75 lakh cubic meters of earthworks, 26,100 cubic meters of sand filling and 5,600 meters of road development, 189 meters of RCC bridge / culvert, 5,000 Construction of 500 m retaining wall, 5,500 m drain and 5,500 m footpath and purchase of 1 double cabin pickup, 1 long boom excavator and 5 dump trucks.

The reasons given for the revision of the project are- delay in land acquisition; Increased cost of parts like road development, bridge / culvert, retaining wall, drain construction etc. due to change in rate schedule and design of construction work; Removal of sluice gate construction organs; Reducing the amount of Chittagong City Corporation’s own funding for the project and increasing the implementation period of the project by 3 years.

Mamun-al-Rashid, Member (Secretary) of the Physical Infrastructure Division of the Planning Commission, said that if the project is implemented, it will be possible to reduce water logging, restore biodiversity and improve the environment of Chittagong metropolis by digging canals and constructing sustainable infrastructure. In addition, the project will be able to regulate human resource development in the Eighth Five-Year Plan, investment-friendly sustainable urban development and management such as road connectivity, infrastructure construction, waste management, organizational skills and management of city corporations. With these considerations, the project will be submitted to ECNEC for approval of the Second Amendment proposal.

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