Chattogram city's long wait for a proper sewerage system and a waste treatment plant is finally going to end.
For 56 years since its establishment Chattogram Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (CWASA) has gone without having any proper sewage responsibility, its activity limited mainly to supply of pure drinking water.
In the absence of a scientific sewerage system in the country's second largest city, wastes are dumped into the Karnaphuli and Halda rivers through canals and from there to the sea.
If the new project is implemented, the wastes will be treated at plant before being dumped.
The project will be implemented by dividing the entire city into six zones. In the first phase, out of 41 wards, 2.0 million urban dwellers of 11 wards will be brought under the sewerage system, reports UNB.
According to sources at WASA, the sewerage project (first phase) of Chattogram metropolis was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) at the end of 2018. The main objective of this project is to build a sewerage system for Chattogram dwellers through construction of proper sanitation facilities.
Even though the authorities are yet to pick up the contractor for the project worth Tk 3,808,58,77,000 , it is certain that the work will go to a foreign company.
Out of the total expenditure, the government will provide Tk 37.58 billion while the remaining Tk 500 million.
Sources close to the project said South Korean contractor Taiyong Engineering and Construction Company Ltd is in hot pursuit of the work.
It also has got the work order for Bhandal-Juri Treatment Plant of Chattogram WASA and the Sheikh Russell Water Treatment Plant in Madunaghat.
According to sources, Chinese and Korean companies have bought 36 tenders for the implementation of the Chattogram WASA Sewage Treatment Plant Project and related activities. Of these, 33 tenders were bought by Chinese companies and the remaining by Korean companies.
In this regard, Project Director (PD) and supervisor of Chattogram WASA Engineer Ariful Islam said international tenders were invited for 3 packages for WASA's wastewater treatment plant project. Of these, one company has bought 36 tenders and another has won 33 tenders. No order has been issued to any organisation yet. It is under process.
Although there are multiple contractors to the project, Taiyong is assumed to be the sole bidder in this project as they are working on two projects earlier. But the work on the Bhandal-Juri treatment plant project has got stalled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. And so, the project authority is now feeling the importance of discussing whether the same company is capable of working on another mega project important for Bangladesh's infrastructure.
Sources claimed that there are doubts about the company's ability to handle larger projects as the quality and progress of work on the Bhandal-Juri project is not visible as per the expectation. The value of these three agreements together will exceed Tk 40 billion.
In response to a question, Ariful Islam said, "Who will be given the tender or not is a top secret. There is no scope to know it violating the official secrecy. Once the tender is ready, it will be officially announced. Before that it cannot be said who is getting it."
When contacted, Engineer AKM Faizullah, Managing Director of Chattogram WASA, told UNB that many local and foreign companies have submitted tenders. Verification and sorting are in progress in this regard. Moreover, it may take some more time because of the ongoing pandemic. "We will inform you who will get the tender when it is finalized."
Chattogram WASA board member Kazi Mohsin said no decision has been taken at the WASA board meeting on who would get the tender for the implementation of the project. He said the tender process for the project will be completed transparently. There will be no irregularities and corruption, he said.
Meanwhile, Bhandal-Juri project under the Chattogram WASA, 60 km long gravity pipeline, a water treatment plant, distribution line, pump station with tanks at Patiya, another pump station at Karnaphuli Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) and two water reservoirs will be constructed. The Chattogram WASA Board has recommended the Korean company Taiyong takes the charge of the project as a construction contractor.
The cost of Bhandal-Juri project has been estimated at Tk 3.74 billion. Under the Economic Development Cooperation Fund, Korean Exim Bank is providing loans for this project on easy terms. The Bhandal-Juri project is expected to be completed in August 2022.
On the other hand, Sheikh Russel Water Treatment Plant (Madunaghat) is capable of refining 90 million litres of water daily.
The Korean company Taiyong took 3 years to construct it. It has been constructed at a cost of Tk 18.90 billion under the Chattogram Water Supply Improvement and Sanitation Project.
The work of this project started in 2011 as a joint venture of the Bangladesh Government, World Bank and Chattogram WASA. Out of the total expenditure, the World Bank has provided Tk 14.95 billion, Bangladesh govt provided Tk 3.70 billion and Chattogram WASA Tk 225.4 million for this project.
The project started to run on a trial basis in November 2018. However, it was fully launched in January, 2021.