The Financial Express

Payra seaport project cost four-time higher now!

| Updated: November 25, 2020 15:09:09

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
Photo source: Social media Photo source: Social media

The government has endorsed four-time higher project cost as the Payra Port Authority (PPA) has failed to acquire required land for seaport infrastructure development in five years.

The PPA will now get Tk 43.47 billion from its originally estimated Tk 11.28 billion.

It has also allowed the PPA to complete the project in seven years until June 2022 from the extended June 2020 deadline, officials said.

The government's highest economic policy-making body -- Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) -- approved the project along with six others at a combined cost of Tk 107.02 billion.

Presided over by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the ECNEC meeting was held in Dhaka city on Tuesday.

The ECNEC revised the 'development of necessary infrastructure and facilities for operating Payra seaport project' for second time, enhancing the cost by nearly four times to Tk 43.74 billion.

Insiders said the original project for Payra seaport development work was taken up in June 2015 at Tk 11.28 billion. The completion deadline was June 2018.

But the PPA failed to complete the work and obtained the first revision, extending the cost by almost three times higher to Tk 33.50 billion.

That time, the ECNEC allowed the PPA to complete the work by June 2020, but it signally failed to do so.

The PPA sought a second revision on Tuesday with nearly four-time higher cost of Tk 43.47 billion.

As land acquisition cost has become tripled since 2017, it claims an additional Tk 11.17 billion for this work.

It still needs to acquire some land of the total 6,562 acres due for port infrastructure development work.

Meanwhile, the premier asked ministries concerned at the meeting to allow contractors for further work only after completion of their ongoing work under any infrastructure projects of the government.

It would not only check unnecessary delays of project work, but also help develop some new companies in the construction sector, planning secretary Asadul Islam quoted the PM as saying.

"Today's (Tuesday's) meeting approved a total of seven development projects. The total estimated cost of the seven projects is Tk 107.02 billion," he said.

Of the total cost, Tk 64.59 billion will come from the government's internal resources and the rest from foreign sources as project aid, Mr Islam cited.

The ECNEC also approved a Tk 18.05-billion 'Identification System for Enhancing Access to Services (IDEA) (Phase-II) project' for providing all citizens, aged above 14, smart national identity (NID) cards.

Planning commission (PC) member Abul Kalam Azad told reporters that election commission (EC) secretariat will execute it from December 2020 to November 2025.

"Under the project, all citizens aged above 14 will get smart NID cards," he said.

"Besides, the EC will send its teams to 40 largest host countries of expatriate Bangladeshis to enroll them in the voter list and provide them with NID services."

Other projects include high-quality grass production and sophisticated technology transfer for developing animal nutrition at Tk 1.17 billion and special sheltering project at Khurushkul at Tk 13.33 billion.

WeCARE phase-I: rural connectivity, market and logistic infrastructure improvement at Tk 21.81 billion, WeCARE phase-I: development of Jhenidah-Jessore road development at Tk 41.87 billion and Sheikh Hasina loom village at Tk 541.5 million, among others. Ministers, PC members and high officials concerned were present at the ECNEC meeting.

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