RHD takes ‘unviable’ road project at inflated cost

FHM Humayan Kabir | Published: June 27, 2018 10:05:02 | Updated: June 27, 2018 18:24:50

Internet photo used for illustrative purpose only

The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has taken up a road upgradation project at a bloated cost despite its 'unviability', official said on Monday.

Project insiders said the RHD itself has shown that there will be very poor return from the project.

Besides, the cost proposed for the project is much higher than that of the similar ongoing projects in the same region of the country.

The project in question is the upgradation of Mostafapur-Madaripur-Shariatpur-Ibrahimpur-Harina-Chandpur (Vatialpara) regional road to a national highway at a cost of Tk 9.29 billon.

All the three major indicators -- Net Present Value (NPV), Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) -- have shown either negative or "zero" return from the costly road project.

They said the RHD has sought more funds for land acquisition than that for the main road construction work under the project.

The RHD has proposed 46.53 per cent cost for land acquisition, while it will require nearly 30 per cent for main road upgradation work, insiders said.

Besides, it has also sought nearly 13 per cent of the total project cost for purchasing two axle-load weighing machine for the 35-km road.

According to the RHD proposal, it has sought Tk 4.32 billion or 46.53 per cent of the total project cost for land acquisition only.

It has sought Tk 1.16 billion or 12.50 per cent of the total cost for purchasing two axle-load weighing machines.

Besides, the RHD in its project proposal said it would require Tk 27.17 million to build one km road.

It is spending Tk 21.45 million for constructing one km of paved road under Faridpur (Maizkandi)-Boalmari-Gopalganj (Bhatiapara) road upgradation project.

Again, under the ongoing 'Road Development, Barishal Zone Project', the RHD has kept aside only Tk 4.52 million fund on an average for constructing one km of paved road.

Besides, the RHD has proposed inflated cost for construction of bridges, culverts and also for earth work.

A PC official said they are scrutinising the project seriously, as RHD has proposed an exorbitant cost compared to other road projects.

"Many important and priority projects of the government are facing fund shortage. So, we will not approve those projects, which are of less priority and viability," said a senior PC official.



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