Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has finally selected a Chinese joint venture company for construction of Dhaka bypass road under public private partnership (PPP) initiative.
Sources said the company was selected for its lowest offer of Tk 31 billion to construct the 48-kilometre road. Two other Chinese companies also took part in the bid.
Both the construction cost and vulnerable gap funding (VGF), which is the share of the government in the PPP project, proposed by the company was lowest among the three companies, they added.
Officials said the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges has already approved the proposal after necessary evaluation.
"It is now a matter of time to award the contract," said an official. The evaluation report already sent to the law ministry for vetting, before submitting it to the cabinet committee on economic affairs for final approval.
The RHD had taken the Dhaka Bypass road (connecting Joydevpur, Debugram, Vulta and Modonpur) project in 2013 to establish an easy link of the industrial belts of greater Mymensing and 16 northern districts with Chittagong and Sylhet regions bypassing capital Dhaka.
Under the PPP authority, a feasibility study (conducted in 2015) estimated the project cost at Tk 28.15 billion. But, sources said, the RHD invited the private companies to submit their own estimated costs.
Under the PPP, the road will be constructed and taken care of by the private company known as concessionaire by charging tolls for 25 years.
It will be the first highway of RHD to be developed under the PPP initiative. It will also lessen the department's responsibility to carry out maintenance works of the 48 km road for next 25 years.
According to the PPP Authority, the will be the biggest one among its other projects. Sources said that three companies out of four shortlisted ones responded to the request for proposals. They are China Railway Group, a sister concern of China Major Bridge, Henan Transport Investment Group with Mir Aktar and, Sichuan Road and Bridges Group with Shamim Enterprise and UDC consultant.
The shortlisted Indian company did not turn up at the end of the RFP closing date on September 28, 2017.
The PPP Authority and RHD officials said that the bypass road would enable traffic to cross the road in only 40 minutes after the complication of the work.
They said that the RHD started land acquisition one year before and acquired only 10 hectares so far while the rest (belong to RHD, Bangladesh Railway and Water Development Board) will be leased out to the private investor for 25 years.