A cabinet committee has asked the authority concerned to review the selection of an international contractor for carrying out a feasibility study on subways in the city.
Sources said the cabinet committee on government purchase (CCGP) at a meeting last week rejected the Tk 2.20 billion proposal put forward by the Bangladesh Bridges Authority (BBA) to award the study work to a Spanish company.
The CCGP asked the BBA to review the proposal, as selection of the firm went against the government's public procurement rules, they added.
Officials, however, claimed that the rejection of the proposal was linked to a 'language problem'.
It was mentioned in the proposal that the selected company would work in association with a Japanese company and a sub-consultant, not with a joint venture.
The BBA took a move in 2016 to conduct the feasibility study on setting up four subways in different corridors of the city.
Though the BBA had no mandate to construct the subways, sources said it proceeded to seek expression of interest with the consent of the Prime Minister.
But the move drew criticism from different stakeholders including the agencies under the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges.
The BBA works under the same ministry to construct bridges measuring over 1.5 kilometres, elevated expressways and tunnels.
Sources said the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) has opposed the move, as setting up of five metro-rails or mass rapid transit (MRT) lines are on the cards under the 20-year transport plan.
There was no mention about the subways under this Strategic Transport Plan (STP).
The proposed subways on the routes also run counter to the MRT lines proposed in the STP. It was recently endorsed by the cabinet after revision, they added.
Recently, the Japanese Embassy and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have also expressed concern over the government's move to set up the subways.
The Japanese Ambassador met with Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader and expressed his government's concern.
Japan is providing all-out support to set up three MRTs in the city.
Even though JICA consultants initially planned to build the first MRT as an elevated way, it has been conducting a feasibility study to set up the rest underground.
Officials said the BBA plans to carry out the study to make the government stand clear on use of underground space and viability of MRTs and subways.
The BBA selected Tecnica Y Proyectos SA (TYPSA) of Spain to carry out the feasibility work last month.
TYPSA competed to get the work along with PADECO of Japan and sub-consultant KSC and BCL Bangladesh.
BBA officials said the company was selected from a short-list of three from South Korea, Spain and Switzerland.
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