The cost of first phase of Payra deep seaport project may triple now and it is going to face two years more delay in line with a revision proposal of the shipping ministry, official sources said.
The project cost is shooting up by nearly 196 percent to Tk 3,351 crore from original estimate of Tk 1,128 crore and its duration is being extended up to June 2020, according to revision proposal.
The shipping ministry argues that increased cost of land acquisition and construction of a link road and inclusion of new components such as rehabilitation of affected people, skill training to them and consultant appointment have actually shot up the cost.
There is a plan to construct the port in four phases. In the first phase, minimum infrastructure will be developed to make the port partially functional.
Besides land acquisition, rehabilitation, training, construction of some infrastructure and dredging, a master plan for the project will be formulated in line with the revised plan.
The project’s first revision proposal will be placed at today’s scheduled Ecnec meeting for final approval, the planning commission sources said.
The original proposal did not include the cost of houses, trees, pond excavation, fishery and income loss of affected people. Instead, it only considered mouza rates of the land to be acquired, some shipping ministry officials said.
Similarly, the decision about accommodating the provision of rehabilitation and providing skill training to the affected people in the project was taken after a port development review meeting was held in early October last year with Principal SDGs Coordinator Abul Kalam Azad in the chair.
Now, a total of 6,562.27 acres of land will be acquired for the project, including 6069.19 acres for the main project and 493.08 acres for rehabilitation purpose.
Project cost is also going up for increased cost for constructing 4.90km link road, appointment of consultants for making component-based design, drawing, tender documents and project oversight and conducting necessary dredging in Ramnabad Channel.
In November 2013, the national parliament enacted a law to create Pyra Port Authority - a major step towards creating the country’s third seaport on the western bank of Ramnabad channel in Kalapara, Patuakhali.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the port on November 19, 2013. The scheme to complete the first phase of the port was okayed by Ecnec on October 29, 2015.
Currently, the port is operated on a very limited scale. The port has not been functional yet, even though a port terminal has been constructed with the facilities of pontoon, crane, security building and internal roads.
However, an initiative was taken from December 2015 to unload goods at the outer anchorage until the full-fledged port comes into effect.
“Pyra is a long-cherished and the lone deep seaport of the country which has eoconimic and commercial importance as well,” commented a planning commission high official.
If the facilities of the port are increased, it will play a big role in expansion of domestic and regional exports and imports, the official added.
Under the revised project, an administrative building and a warehouse will be constructed alongside procuring pilot boat, tugboat, buoy laying vessel, survey boat and security equipment to make the port functional.
Until February this year, the scheme saw 53.41 percent financial progress with Tk 602.69 crore spending while its infrastructural progress was 49.97 percent, according to the government’s fast-track project’s progress report.