The project to construct freedom fighters complex at district level is yet to be complete although eight years have elapsed since the project started.
Liberation Affairs Ministry and Department of Public Works are implementing the project. It was supposed to be complete within three years.In the meantime, the project cost went up by over 28 percent, says a government monitoring report.
Land acquisition related complexities, delay from the part of contractors and other complexities delayed the project, according to project officials.
“Some projects cannot be completed within the stipulated time because of some real causes. Similarly, the implementing agencies could not finish this project for land related and other problems. But any project taking 2.5 times more is unusual,” said IMED Secretary Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty.
Until last April, over Tk 1.33 billion, 87.28 percent of the project money, was spent, according to the report of Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED).
The evaluation report says that 63 out of 64 complexes have already been handed over while that of Dhaka district is likely to be handed over this month.
Since taking office in early 2009, the incumbent Awami League government initiated a number of schemes for improving living quality of the freedom fighters.As part of the initiative, the government approved the project in early February 2011 to construct freedom fighters complex at 64 district headquarters.
Liberation affairs ministry and department of public works were supposed to complete the project by June 2013.
Through first two revisions, the project time was first extended by two years to June 2015.
Later, the time was extended again by three years till June 2017 at a time through a revision under intra-sectoral adjustment.
The three-year project completed eight years after another such adjustment extended the time to June 2021.
The project cost went up by 28.5 percent to nearly Tk 1.52 billion after repeated project revisions.
The cost was primarily estimated at Tk 1.19 billion, according to IMED report.
This project is not an exception in making delay and increasing project cost but there are many other development projects like this, IMED secretary said.
IMED has tried to find out the real causes of the delay and inform the government about it so that such projects in future can avoid such complexities and faults, he said.
Primarily, the project was proposed for 48 districts and later the rest of 16 districts were included in it.
During the project execution, rate schedule for furniture and equipment of public works department got changed two times, which along with inclusion some new components was found to be a major cause of project cost hike.
The project watchdog also found some weak aspects of the nearly finished project, including no toilet facility at the ground floor, absence of lift for aged freedom fighters and problems of renting out shops due to boundary wall in front of the shops.
Also, there is no vehicle parking facility in front of the complex, while unrented buildings are not maintained.
Even cracks have developed in some buildings and designs of some complexes have been changed.
Water and electricity lines of some buildings have problems, while fittings and furniture of some complexes are getting destroyed because of lack of maintenance, IMED said.
About timely implementation of such projects, IMED suggested undertaking projects separately for acquiring land and setting aside individual budget for material test.