Frequent changes in project director cuased unusual delay to a project of three important bridges in Patuakhali undertaken to further develop tourism in Kuakata, a major tourist spot, in a breach of government stance against such practice to improve project implementation.
“Contruction of Sheikh Kamal Bridge, Sheikh Jamal Bridge and Sheikh Russell Bridge on Patuakhali-Kuakata Road” project was supposed to be complete in two years by 2011, but it took 183.33 percent more time to be complete in 8 years.
The project was lunched without conducting any feasibility study, which IMED says caused the huge project dely and cost overrun.
The government has taken a tough stance against frequent changes to project directors and undertaking any project without feasibility study, which have been indentified as major causes of project delay. But all the project directors were appointed on temporary basis and they were tasked with overseeing many projects at a time, including this important project.
“We prepared an assessment report on the important project so that in future similar projects can avoid the problems the project has faced,” IMED Secretary Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty said.
The project went through three revisions and its cost shot up by Tk 450 million to over Tk 1.82 billion from the originally estimated Tk 1.30 million in December 2008 when it was approved.
Its physical work was supposed to start from early 2009 but it kicked off nearly two and a half years later in June 2011. It finally ended in June 2017 after extending the project deadline on several occasions.
“The project would have been more acceptable and its impact assessment would have been much easier, if there had been a feasibility study and the area’s socio-economic data had been available,” it added.
IMED also found some small manufacturing faults, lack of maintenance, enough light and security signs in some of the finished bridges.
“We usually appoint two types of project directors. Individual project directors are appointed in foreign funded projects or government funded large projects while small projects are looked after by the zonal additional chief engineers,” a roads and highways department top official said seeking not to be named.
When these additional chief engineers are transferred, project directors are also changed, the official said, also claiming that such change doesn’t actually cuases any harm to projects.
He, however, said they were now trying to shun the practice of undertaking project without feasibility study, which will enable road and highways department to aver the problem faced by this bridge project.