The government is not getting the full benefit from the newly-built food silo at Mongla due to multifarious problems which include, among others, low capacity utilization, lack of skilled manpower and proper planning.
Besides, the new structure has cast adverse impacts on adjacent environment, finds a new report prepared by Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED).The Ministry of Food constructed a modern food grain silo having 50,000 tonnes storage capacity at Joymonirgol near Mongla port in a bid to ensure food safety for the growing pollution in the country’s southwest region.
The was constructed during the period January 2010 to June 2016 at a cost of Tk 578 crore under a project titled ‘Construction of a concrete grain silo at Mongla port with ancillary facilities.’
It was the first and full-fledged silo after independence to have constructed with electro-mechanical equipment and operated by a digital automation control room.
But, the project proposal was lack of clear indication of any implementation and management methods and monitoring system, observed IMED report. Because of the lacking, the project work saw 2.5 years or 62.5 percent delay while project cost went up by over 189 percent from nearly Tk 200 crore.
IMED has identified at least 10 reasons for not properly working.
According to MIED report, the silo does not work during power outage as there is no standby generator on the project site. Equipment is also remaining inoperative because of no proper use.Services are being hampered in the project site due to weak mobile phone network and most importantly the project lacks skilled manpower.
A major problem of the silo for not becoming fully operational is the absence of effective communications system as the silo divided by the Mongla river and there is no bridge.
The existing ferry service and adjacent dilapidated road network is not suitable for full operation of the silo. The two conveyer belts for directly loading truck have not been utilized so far.
The report says that the silo has capacity for directly unloading food grains from 25,000 tonnes or 50,000 tonnes ships with pneumatic unloader, but Mongla port authority does not allow entry of such large ships.
The port authority has argued that allowing large ships to the silo will squeeze the channel for other port bound ships. As a result, the silo authorities have to unload food grains through light vessels from outer anchorage, which has hindered the main objective of the silo and created scope of environment pollution.
About 65 percent local people who took part in the IMED survey think that the silo project adversely affects the environment as free movement of frog, snake, crocodile and monkey has declined after the project was launched.