Irregularities have been found in a major government project being implemented to construct over 1,500 flats in the capital’s Mirpur area spending Tk 9.36 billion to resolve the acute accommodation problem of the city dwellers.
The project to construct fifteen 14-storey residential flats at Section-9 of Mirpur, Dhaka (2nd phase) violated the public procurement rules in floating tenders and even did some work beyond approved Development Project Proforma (DPP).
The government approved the project in February 2017 to construct 1,560 flats in Mirpur in small space. None of the buildings has so far been completed. The project deadline ended in June this year and the National Housing Authority seeks extension to December.
Its physical progress was found to be 55 percent and financial progress 42.9 percent, which IMED says “not satisfactory at all.”
“We wanted to depict the real picture of the project in our report. It has been finalised after holding meetings with the project officials and will be sent to the implementing ministry soon,” said IMED Secretary Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty.
Because of low-lying land, 10-15 foot earth-filling work took 4-5 months while taking hold of the land consumed 3-4 months. Coronavirus pandemic also put the work to a halt for 5-6 months.
Although it had been mentioned in the approved DPP to chalk out component-based yearly action plan, no time-bound action plan was formulated in the last fiscal years, according to the IMED.
Besides, two motorcycles and a jeep have been procured under GD-02 package. Out of 20 work package, 11 tenders have been called, but nine of them have not been done in line with the DPP as package numbers have been changed.
Again an audit objection of 2019-20 fiscal year has not been disposed of yet as the tripartite audit meeting has not been held. In 2017-18 fiscal year, it had been decided to clear three out of four audit objections.
Even though results of Buet test done on construction materials were found satisfactory, the brick quality of buildings 11, 16, 17, 18 and 24 was not bad in a physical verification.
Quality of re-enforced concrete is not of updated standard, while quality of stone used in falls slab and lintel was not found good.
So far, the project has seen change in project directors three times. But still land development for some building has not been completed. Construction of roads and power supply has not started yet, while installation of deep tube well and fencing wall has not started.
“The project output is very low compared to the log frame mentioned in the DPP,” IMED said in its report. “The delay in the project beyond the approved time is hampering the core objective of the scheme to provide shelters with modern living facility for the low and middle-income people,” IMED said.
IMED recommended increased project oversight by the contractors with separate action plans for individual buildings scrutinised and approved by the implementing agency.
It also recommended proper lab testing of bricks and taking precautions for import and installation of European lifts to be installed in the buildings. It also called for retendering for building No 19 and checking the contractor’s ability beforehand.