The Financial Express

RHD feels virus's heat in projects

Munima Sultana | Published: February 24, 2020 10:10:56 | Updated: February 26, 2020 10:42:32

RHD feels virus's heat in projects

The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has started to feel the heat of coronavirus in implementing some projects due to Chinese nationals' failure to meet the target.

Official sources at multiple Chinese-funded projects made the observations.

They said a monthly progress review meeting between road transport and bridges ministry, and RHD also apprehended an impact on other projects for no shipment of Chinese-made construction materials.

Sources said some project offices recently told the RHD of the absence of Chinese from project sites and delay in shipment of building materials.

Later, the ministry held the meeting.

Projects aside, the RHD said about the delay in getting building materials for other development projects due to restrictions on importing materials from China.

The meeting was told about the likelihood of missing the fiscal target and spending the funds sought under the revised annual development programme (ADP) for fiscal year 2019-20.

"The ministry may not achieve 100-per cent progress in ADP this year as recorded in the last couple of years," said an official who attended the meeting.

Sources said the ministry will face so many problems in spending project aid which was fixed up after meeting with Economic Relations Division and development partners in December, just before corona hit China.

The RHD is implementing 121 projects under ADP. Of them eight ones are being done by Chinese contractors.

The FE also obtained copies of two letters of Payra bridge and third Sitalakkhya bridge projects on slow progress in two months for lack of Chinese staff and supplies.

Of them, the Payra bridge project hinted at its inability to spend 20 to 25 per cent of the proposed Tk 3.23-billion fund sought under RADP.

Payra Bridge project director told RHD that the shipment of important machinery was expected to come from China in December and January but remains halted for travel and shipment restrictions.

The shipment is likely to be delayed until March as China waits for the coronavirus situation to improve.

The deadly viral strain has so far claimed more than 2,000 lives and affected thousands of others.

The PD in his letter said 10 Chinese nations, including project manager, concrete foreman, formwork foreman and scaffold foreman, could not join the office due to travel restrictions.

The letters sent by Payra and Sitalakkhya bridge projects said 13 Chinese, who went home to celebrate Chinese new year, remain stuck at homeland.

Apart from the two, Chinese contractors are engaged in Elenga-Rangpur four-lane project, Dhaka bypass, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor development and eighth Bangladesh-China friendship bridge projects.

Elenga-Rangpur project has three Chinese contractors and BRT two contractors.



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