The Financial Express
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BRT project in slow lane

RHD makes 34pc progress in eight years

| Updated: September 22, 2020 12:21:58

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Execution of a modern road transport project, designed to ease traffic movement between Gazipur and Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), within the deadline---December 2022--- is highly unlikely.

Food dragging by its two Chinese contractors is largely responsible for the delay. Only 34 per cent work had been completed until August last.

The Roads and Highways Department (RHD), the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA), and the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) are implementing the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project under four packages.

The 20- kilometre-long project is being executed under Tk 42.68-billion Greater Dhaka Sustainable Urban Transport Project (GDSUTP-BRT Gazipur-Airport) since 2012 with the target to complete it by December 2022.

Sources said the project has been delayed, as two Chinese companies that were given the job of building the project have not been working properly.

"The companies have been dillydallying from the beginning. None of them accelerated the project work even after repeated requests," said officials.

The Road Transport and Bridges Minister has already brought the issue to the notice of the Chinese Ambassador through two letters. But there has been hardly change in the situation even after that, sources said.

They also said the expiry of the Gazipur-Airport BRT project's tenure is not that far away. So, the project's financiers, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), are also pressurising the executing agencies to speed up its implementation.

It is learnt from the project office and different sources that the project has been gripped with multifarious problems, including lack of labour, materials and consultants.

Even both the Chinese companies lack adequate cash flow to carry on with the project, said one official preferring anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges organised a meeting with all stakeholders concerned to find out ways to overcome the hurdles to the implementation of the project.

Neelima Akhter, additional secretary of Urban Transport Wing, presented an overall review of the project in the meeting.

She told the FE over phone that the meeting was organised to find out the best solution, strategy and policy, required to speed up the BRT project's implementation.

"We all want a smart transportation system (in the city). There is no alternative to it. But the delay in project implementation caused public sufferings, which needs to be addressed," she added.

According to the RHD's project progress report, it has not yet completed underground and overhead utility shifting, land acquisition and resettlement, and drainage system work.

The RHD also has problems in managing the corridor, as it is one of the busiest corridors to connect with different parts of the country.

Besides, hundreds of industries were developed on and adjacent to the corridor, making it difficult for the project's contractors to carry out their work.

The Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) Executive Director Khandaker Rakibur Rahman, however, told the FE that markets from one road of the project have been evicted and drainage system has been improved to carry out the work.

China Gezhouba Group Company Ltd (CGGC) has been working on the RHD's part to develop a dedicated bus corridor, including widening of surface road, a BRT station and flyover, at a cost of TK 9.31 billion.

Jiangsu Provincial Transportation Engineering Group Co Ltd (JTEG) is responsible to develop 4.5-km elevated road and 10-lane Tongi Bridge upgradation work under a work order of Tk 9.35 billion.


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