Thursday, 28 September, 2023

Electronic system ‘creates’ syndication in RHD projects

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 19 September, 2023 12:00 AM
  • Print news

A group of contractors get almost all projects of the roads and highways department due to the ‘electronic system’ of procurements.

RHD chief engineer Syed Moinul Hasan made the remarks during a public hearing in the capital on Monday.

“When the bid price becomes equal from multiple applicants, the system invites a performance matrix electronically. There are some marking arrangements for evaluating tender. Those companies having highest experience of construction will get the higher number. We find a risk of syndication here,” he said.

The Roads and Highways Department organised the public hearing at Sharak Bhaban in the capital amid criticism from different quarters on the quality of projects and syndication of work contracts.

RHD top officials mentioned that the department communicated with respective authorities for multiple times since 2020 to address the issues.

“We communicated with the authorities concerned for multiple times since 2020. We hope, CPTU (Central Procurement Technical Unit) under Planning Ministry will take necessary steps to solve the problem. A high-powered committee is working on this issue,” Moinul Hasan added.

Roads and Highways department processed 4,300 projects in open tender process under the electronic platform of procurement.

The chief engineer further said that most companies are family-oriented and number of contractors to deal with the large-scale construction is confined into 20 or 30.

“This is another risk for development. If the authorities run any tender, the applicants come from 20 to 25 common entities. So, same contractors get many projects. We have made an assessment over the experience for the last three years,” he said.

Addressing the programme, Road Transport and Highways Division secretary ABM Amin Ullah Nuri  claimed that the ‘numbers of qualified contractors’ are not etiquette to serve the growing development of the country.

“In Dhaka-Sylhet highway, we hire foreign contractors as quality companies are not available in the country. Most of the contractors (of big projects) are foreign companies because local businesses are yet to flourish in the sector. Another issue is the tender assessment happens electronically. The problem is not lies into us or you,” he said.

Regarding a question about political office on closest space of highways, the secretary said that the roads and highways department continues the eviction drive in association with local administration.

“As per acts for highways, no establishment won’t allow within 10ft areas from the highways. There are many spaces occupied for political office. It’s tough for us to recover the sites. We try to keep the space free for new projects,” Nuri added.  RHD additional chief engineer Abdullah Al Mamun and Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) executive director Sabiha Parveen were also present on the occasion.