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China-funded projects in slow lane on land acquisition delays

High-level meeting reviews progress


Mir Mostafizur Rahaman | Published: July 22, 2018 10:22:15 | Updated: July 28, 2018 14:18:09


Picture used for illustrative purpose only — Collected

Bureaucratic tangle and slow land acquisition have delayed the progress of eight China-funded government to government (G2G) projects.

Infrastructure projects like Multilane Road Tunnel under the River Karnaphuli, Padma Water treatment plant project, the installation of single point mooring with double pipeline project are not progressing as expected due to slow land acquisition, officials said.

This was discussed at a high-level meeting between the Economic Relations Division (ERD) and the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka held in the city recently.

"We have reviewed the progress of the China-funded projects. The implementation of some of these projects is being delayed due to complexities from both sides. We have suggested our ministries and the Chinese side to remove those," Zahidul Haque, additional secretary and head of the Asia wing of the ERD said.

China Exim Bank has recently disbursed US$ 137.6 million as the first instalment of its committed $ 705 million for the Karnafuli river tunnel project designed to ease nagging traffic congestion on the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar route.

"Project director informed that because of change in the alignment of the tunnel, a revised design has been submitted and a revised land acquisition plan has been sent to the Deputy Commissioner's office," said a meeting paper.

In the meeting, the Chinese side requested Bangladesh to expedite the land acquisition process, saying that the project would require more land for 100-some new equipment.

About the Padma water treatment plant project, the meeting was told that due to land acquisition problem, the construction of pipeline was delayed.

According to the project head, it will be by and large completed within the given time but 'not 100 per cent', the document of the project evaluation meeting reveals.

The Chinese side, however, said, the contractor would hand over the project at the end of September this month.

They also said since the loan availability period of the project will expire on November 15 this year, all drawdown must be finished within this period.

The plant located at Jashaldia under Lauhajang Upazila of Munshiganj has the capacity of supplying 4.5 million (45 crore) litres of water a day.

Once the project goes into operation, it will begin to improve the water supply to the southern and eastern parts of Dhaka.

Water from the Padma River will get treated at the plant and then pass through 33-km-long pipeline to the distribution lines near Mitford Hospital before it is supplied to the Dhaka city.

The cost of the project is Tk 33.75 billion, of which the Bangladesh government is contributing Tk 10.73 billion and the Exim Bank of China is providing around Tk 22.80 billion as soft loan.

About the 'Installation of Single-Point Mooring (SPM) with Double Pipeline' project, the meeting noted that the project was delayed since the announcement of the effectiveness of the loan was not made in scheduled time.

China will provide US$ 550.40 million to Bangladesh to implement this project.

Of the total amount, China will provide around US$ 82.56 million under the Chinese government's concessional loan while the remaining US$ 467.84 million will come under its preferential buyer's credit.

Two power ministry projects including the expansion of power system network under DPDC and power grid strengthening project under PGCB are behind the schedule as draft loan agreements were not sent to Bangladesh by the Chinese side.

Exim Bank officials told the ERD that it would take three or four months more to complete the project evaluation.

About the expansion of public sector jute mills project worth $ 280 million, the nomination letter for the project was not issued yet although the letter of interest was sent in the first week of August, 2017.

The $ 280 million project for the establishment of six full fledged TV stations of Bangladesh Television has also delayed as the loan application from the relevant ministry was not sent to the Chinese authority in time.

mirmostafiz@yahoo.com

 

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