Khulna-Mongla link: Local companies to install rail signal

MUNIMA SULTANA | Sunday, 15 May 2022

The Bangladesh Railway (BR) will find local companies to work on the signalling system of the Khulna-Mongla rail link project being implemented under the Indian line of credit (LoC).

It now turns to local firms for getting much higher quotations from Indian companies against the estimated cost.

Sources said the BR has called tender twice for the Tk 220-million work since 2019 but to no avail. It had to cancel both for getting 35-100 per cent higher rates.

“The lowest bidder quoted 35-per cent more than the estimated cost in the first bid, but the second bid got a 100-per cent higher rate from the lowest bidder,” said official seeking anonymity.

He said the BR has decided to look for Bangladeshi companies as the work can be done by them.

Sources said Indian firms tried to have a monopoly on the signalling work taking advantage of the LoC terms which led the project to face a further delay.

The project has been taken under the first LoC in 2010 to develop 65-kilometre rail track from Khulna to Mongla port along with a rail bridge over Rupsha river.

The project cost went up by 177 per cent for problems like a wrong selection of consultant, faulty feasibility study and design, resulting in the revision of the project deadline several times.

Its cost increased to Tk 47.98 billion from Tk 17.2 billion of the original development project proposal.

The deadline was shifted from 2013 to 2014, then to 2018 and finally to 2020.

But the latest revision has fixed it until December 2022 now.

The BR officials, however, say the project work is progressing now and expected to meet the deadline.

“We have thus decided to do the signalling work by local companies as they have such experience,” add one of the officials.

Sources say the BR recently received concurrence from the Indian side on March 17 to invite a tender locally.

The state rail service provider is taking preparation to get permission from the Planning Commission.

The Tk 220-million project aid will now be used.

BR officials, however, say the total contribution under the Indian credit will not be lessened due to an increase in cost in other cases.

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