13-km highway expansion: Abdul Momen picked again thru rebid!

| Updated: June 27, 2021 10:11:02

Picture used for representational purpose- Collected Picture used for representational purpose- Collected

Once disqualified despite being the lowest bidder, the same contractor, Abdul Momen Limited, was picked again for widening part of the Elenga-Rangpur highway.

The firm got the job through a fresh bid as the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) invited tenders.

Sources said nearly four years were lost in the process of selecting the contractor through the fresh bid.

The contractor was to widen only 13 kilometres of the highway under a Tk 166.62-billion project in order to develop a corridor under SASEC and Asian Highway-02.

On June 09, the cabinet committee on government purchase (CCGP) approved the RHD's evaluation report.

Officials said the local developer Abdul Momen Ltd was disqualified for the job under Package-05 of the SASEC-02 project for its lower turnover.

A company's annual turnover is a metric to assess its tender capacity to carry out any development work.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the main financier of the project, proposed the second-lowest bidder Sinohydro Corporation Ltd for doing the work from Elenga to the east part of Bangabandhu Bridge.

But the CCGP in a meeting on February 18, 2019, rejected the proposal and asked the RHD to re-evaluate Abdul Momen's proposal, according to the sources.

Under the circumstances, the RHD invited fresh tenders when the ADB rejected the RHD's re-evaluation report that selected Abdul Momen.

Official sources said the ADB preferred inviting fresh tenders to selecting Abdul Momen as Sinohydro was then on the black list of the Manila-based bank.

The CCGP cancelled the first bid and accepted the proposal for a rebid for the small package on March 04, 2020. The fresh tender was called on June 10, 2020.

Again, Abdul Momen was found the lowest bidder against a financial proposal of Tk 6.01 billion.

The RHD launched SASEC-02 after SASEC-01 in September 2016 and awarded all 11 contract packages to make the 190-km highway ready for traffic by August 2021.

However, the project faced multiple challenges, including the unavailability of land.

The project cost was hiked from Tk 118.99 billion to Tk 166.62 billion extending the completion period to 2024.

The project office recorded 30-per cent progress of the work as of May 2021 as construction under some other packages is going on in full swing.

The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)-01 road connectivity project spanned for 73 kilometres from Joydebpur to Elenga.

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