The cost of Dhaka-Sylhet four-lane highway project is set to see an upward revision despite the Planning Commission's directives to lower it assessing the proposed prices of all components, sources said.
They said Roads and Highways Department (RHD) proposed increasing the project cost by Tk 13.0 billion during a meeting of the project evaluation committee (PEC) on Wednesday.
It, however, approved the cost at Tk 126.62 billion, they added.
In the first meeting of PEC held in June, RHD was directed to revise the proposed cost of Tk 114.12 billion, finding it irrational. A committee was also formed to carry out the work.
RHD officials said the committee lowered the cost of the project by Tk 500 million. But it increased by Tk 13.0 billion again while adjusting the prices of construction materials as per the new schedule of rates.
RHD approved the new schedule of rates to assess the prices of all kinds of construction materials with new rates from July which pushed up the project cost, on an average, by 18 per cent.
RHD prepared the development project proposal of the Dhaka-Sylhet four-lane highway project to construct additional four lanes from Kanchpur Bridge to Humayun Rashid Chattar in Sylhet after the government decided to implement it with its own funds.
Earlier, RHD planned to construct it with Chinese government's funds after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Chinese company.
RHD has long been facing problems in proceeding with the Dhaka-Sylhet highway expansion project as the Chinese contractor submitted a high rate to build the 214-kilometre highway.
Negotiations with the company failed. The company proposed Tk 160 billion to construct the six-lane highway without land acquisition.
A RHD official said the latest cost was, however, lower than the proposed cost of the Chinese company even after taking up a Tk 38.85-billion supportive project to acquire land and carry out utility shifting.
After adding the separate project cost to acquire around 986 acres of land, the cost of Dhaka-Sylhet four-lane highway project will stand at around Tk 164.5 billion.
The official, however, said RHD has added the construction of four-lane bridge over the Surma River in the same project which was excluded from the previous proposal.
However, the cost of most RHD projects is seen with an unusual upward trend.
When it constructed a 192-km highway on the Dhaka-Chattogram corridor at a cost of Tk 38 billion, it is now proposing the cost of all highway expansion projects with three-digit high.
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