The government has to spend more on establishing regional passport offices as the project saw little progress through the project timeline has already expired.
The project to set up 16 regional passport offices has advanced only 28.21 percent with Tk 341.6 million project spending out of Tk 870 million estimated cost although the project deadline has ended.
“Change in rate schedule, three times higher compensation payment for land acquisition, vertical expansion of Sylhet, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar and Jashore regional offices have caused the delay and shoot up the cost,” Planning Commission Member Mamun Al-Rashid said.
Besides, installation of a capsule lift at Chattogram office, complexity in land acquisition and changes in the cost of some components also caused the delay in starting public works, he argued.
“Now, the project needs first revision. Once, the project is implemented, it will make available passport services at people’s door step,” Mamun said.
In the original project proposal, the authorities followed 2014 rate schedule for assessing the cost of public works. But the work could not be started within the stipulated timeframe because of land acquisition delay.
Meanwhile, the government has put in place 2018 rate schedule for public works in the development projects. As a result, the project cost is going up.
The original project was supposed to construct 16 regional offices, but in the revised proposal, the number has been raised to 17 after inclusion of Gazipur office.
The Gazipur office was included in an earlier project but its work could be complete due to a land litigation in the proposed site.
Project Evaluation Committee (PAC) under the Planning Commission has recommended for placing the revision proposal at the Ecnec meeting for final approval after completion of its necessary scrutiny, the commission sources said.
Once approved, Department of Immigration & Passports of the ministry of home affairs and Public Works Department will implement the revised project by December this year. The inclusion of Gazipur office, upward expansion of existing offices of Sylhet, Chattogram, Jessore and Cox’s Bazar, and installing a capsule lift at Chattogram divisional office caused the major cost escalation.
The issue of project cost spike was discussed at a meeting of Project Steering Committee (PSC). The Revised Development Project Proforma (RDPP) has been prepared in line with the decision of that meeting.