A key water and sanitation project ended with only 5.5 percent of progress made during the last three years since its launch.
Faulty project design and land-related complications have been blamed for this situation..
The “Improvement of water supply and environmental sanitation system of Kulaura and Gopalganj municipalities”ended in December 2022 after it was launched in January 2020.
Implementing agency Public Health Engineering Department now seeks a revision to the project after it spent over Tk 23 million out of Tk 460.8 million of the estimated project cost and made 5.5 percent of progress so far.
In the process of scrutiny of the revision proposal, the Planning Commission asked the implementing agency to explain why the project had not advanced in its stipulated time frame.
There was a provision in the original project to set up surface water treatment plants taking into consideration the necessity of water supply system extension in the said two municipalities.
But in a meeting in mid-February this year, the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) of Planning Commission directed the executing agency to redesign the project after physically verifying the ground realities in the project areas.
Accordingly, the Public Health Engineering Department submitted a re-arranged project proposal to the commission with a provision to set up an underground water treatment plant instead of previously planned surface water treatment plant.
In its previous revised proposal, the implementing agency excluded all the project activities of Gopalganj municipality after it failed to provide necessary land for the water treatment plant.
But in its newly revised proposal, Gopalganj municipality has been included after its authorities gave administrative approval to buying 0.35 acres of land for the treatment plant.
“The land related problems are one of the key reasons hindering most of the projects. We’ve to implement the project keeping that in mind,” said Planning Minister MA Mannan.
“There are also some other practical reasons for slow progress of any project. Many initiatives have been taken to overcome those problems,” he added.
Apart from surface water treatment plant, solid waste carrying tank, backhoe loader, rickshaw vans for carrying solid waste, transmission line, solid waste landfill system and community bins have been dropped as well in the new plan.
The Planning Commission sought an explanation for dropping these project components. The delay also pushed up project costs.
An amount of Tk 15.7 million has been sought for 2km 200mm-diameter pipeline which was Tk 16.1 million for 7km pipeline with same diameter.
Similarly, Tk 19.2 million has been sought for a 5km pipeline with 150mm diameter, which was Tk 12 million for an 8km pipeline earlier.
Another amount of Tk 24.9 million has been sought for 9km pipeline with 100mm-diameter in place of only Tk 6 million for 6km pipeline.
The Commission raised questions over the revised proposal for providing 2,000 household connections without meters at a cost of Tk12.8 million in place of 1,000 household connections with metres spending Tk 15 million.