Amid the government's austerity programmes, the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has proposed to spend Tk 8.69 billion, Tk 20 million per kilometre, to build a drain on 43km road, insiders said.
The RHD has also proposed to use Tk 3.51 billion fund alone as the price adjustment for the road widening project, to be implemented borrowing loan from the World Bank, they said.
Besides, the state-run road developer has proposed Tk 1.50 billion for shifting the utility lines on the road, to be widened despite the government announced the policy in the budget for the current financial year to put on hold frill expenses and less important projects.
The RHD has proposed the costs at the "Widening of Sylhet-Carkhai-Shaola highways project". The project was recently sent to the planning commission (PC) for getting approval.
According to the Development Project Proposal (DPP), the RHD has also proposed to spend Tk890 million for consultancy services, Tk4.99 billion for land acquisition, and Tk 1.75 billion for earthen works.
The FE analysis has found that, the 42.985km road will require Tk17.18 billion, only 44 per cent of the total Tk 38.72 billion cost of the project.
The remaining 66 per cent of the cost will be required for some less priority works like consultancy services, earthen works, land acquisition, vehicle procurement, construction site management, price adjustment, utility shifting and drainage system upgradation.
A senior government official, involved with the project processing, told the FE that when the government has reined in its expenditure, then how a public agency could take up an unusually higher-cost-project.
How much the Sylhet-Carkhai-Shaola road is important at this moment for widening spending hard-earned public-taxed money, he questioned.
A Planning Commission official told the FE that they are strictly scrutinising the proposed road development project amid the government's cautious steps in recent days.
He said they had already asked for different information in details from the RHD regarding the project.
The PC official said when the country is struggling with fund crisis, especially the dollar crisis then this type of ambitious project is not expected at this moment.
When asked, a RHD official told the FE that they want to activate the Shaola land port for passenger and freight transfer with neighbouring India.
The route will connect SASEC Road Corridor-5, BCIM Corridor and play vital role in cross border and regional trade, he added.
Currently, the Sylhet-Carkhai-Shaola road is a 2-lane road national highways connecting road in Bangla-desh's north-eastern area.
According to the DPP, the road will be widened to 6-lane where two lanes will be dedicated as the service lanes for the slow-moving vehicles.