The latest status report on the progress of the Padma rail link project, the largest China-funded project in the country, shows a dismal picture.
The physical implementation rate of this 'fast-track' project is only 25.23 per cent and the financial rate is only 33.18 per cent, according to the report which was submitted to the Prime Minister's Office recently.
The project has three deadlines for completion of three parts. It aims to finish the Dhaka-Mawa part and Bhanga-Jashore part by 2023 and Mawa-Bhanga part by 2021.
The government of Bangladesh is providing Tk 182.10 billion and China Tk 210.36 billion for the Tk 392.46 billion mega project.
According to the progress report, so far Tk 130.23 billion can be spent on the project. The amount includes Tk 68.73 billion from the GoB and Tk 61.50 billion from the Chinese fund.
The report has also shown that the implementation rate of the Mawa-Bhanga part is higher than that of other parts.
An analysis of the status of this part has showed that the implementation rate of the embankment construction work is 34.03 per cent, bridge construction 33.33 per cent and underpass and culvert construction 39.13 per cent.
There will be a 26.9-kilometre embankment in this part of which 9.18-kilometre has been completed. This part will have 12 major bridges of which four have been completed. Out of 69 culverts or underpasses, 27 have been completed, the report shows.
The Dhaka-Mawa part has 16.88-kilometre embankment of which 5-kilometre has been completed. There are 14 major bridges in this part of which only one has been completed. Out of 29 culverts and underpasses, five have been completed.
The implementation rate of the Bhanga-Jashore section is very low. No progress has yet been made in an 85-km embankment. Out of 31 major bridges and 148 culverts/underpasses, not a single bridge or culvert or underpass has been completed.
The Padma rail link project is one of top priority projects of this government. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the groundbreaking of this project on October 14, 2018.
The China Railway Engineering Corporation (CERC) of state-owned China Railway Group is the contractor of the project.
As per the government plan, 169-kilometre long broad-gauge rail line which will connect Dhaka with Jashore through Padma Bridge will be constructed under this project.
The government has also got plans to launch train from the same day of the inauguration of Padma Bridge.
However, the Chinese contractor and the project authority have differing opinions about the slow pace of the project.
The Chinese contractor at a recent high-level meeting raised several issues like not handing over the land for the project to them by the project authority in a proper way.
The project officials claimed that they handed over land to the contractor in time.
The government has acquired 1,700 acres of land in nine districts for the project, paying Tk 1.06 billion as resettlement, the report showed.