Roads and Highways Department (RHD) is in difficulty to implement its next four-lane highway project than other such projects due to requirement of acquiring a greater extent of land to widen only 190 km road.
Sources said the project to turn the 190.4-km-long Elenga-Hatikumrul-Rangpur Highway into a four-lane one needs acquisition of 491.5 acres of land.
The length of the highway is almost the same of Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane highway, which needed to acquire only 37.37 acres of land. RHD also acquired 175 acres for 70-km Joydebpur-Tangail-Elenga four-lane project.
Sources said not only the extent of land, but RHD has to increase its budget to acquire the necessary land to abide by the government's new rule, which has made provision to pay three times more money than the market price for land acquisition.
Besides, completion of the land acquisition procedure for the project, also known as SASEC-2, will also need a long time, as the district administrations concerned are yet to start the process of assessing the land cost.
Selection of construction supervision consultant for Elenga-Hatikamrul-Rangpur four-lane project was scheduled to be completed by December 2017 with the target of awarding all the package works by this year. The target to complete the project is August 2021, according to RHD schedule.
RHD has completed the feasibility study and detailed design of the project under a technical project of Asian Development Bank (ADB) to facilitate speedy construction work of the four-lane highway.
RHD officials said land is required to a greater extent for the highway project for not having any land owned by the agency.
They further said RHD is yet to estimate the land acquisition cost for the highway, which is connected with five districts of three divisions.
Besides, utility shifting work for the four-lane project has not yet started, and many illegal installations have already been established on the corridor due to lack of invigilation.
RHD estimated the cost of Elenga-Hatikumrul-Rangpur Highway four-lane project at Tk 118.99 billion. The highway is a part of Asian Highway, SASEC, BIMSTEC and SAARC highway corridor, linking Joydebpur-Tangail-Elenga highway, whose four-lane work is going on.
Its design was prepared to make the highway as an expressway with separating grades for slow-moving vehicles and connecting two sides of the road through tunnels.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Land, in a gazette notification, has asked all the government agencies concerned to complete their land acquisition work within 60 days.
They will have to do it by taking video and picture of the lands on both sides, before giving notice of land acquisition, as per Acquisition and Requisition of Inland Property ACT 2017.
Previously all the agencies have to follow ARIP Ordinance 1982 in this regard.
The officials said land acquisition process in the country has been time consuming but the new law has made the process more complicated and costly.
Per kilometre road construction cost under RHD projects has already been found the highest as compared to the similar projects, taken in other developing countries including India.
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