Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) has been implementing nine projects worth Tk 3.12 billion in different parts of the country by extending the project duration two to three times.
BPC undertook a project titled 'Introduction of tourism facilities at Parki in Chattogram' in 2017 at a cost of Tk 712.5 million (revised). Since then, the project tenure was extended two times.
The corporation first extended the project duration until December 2020. Now it has proposed extending the tenure until June 2021. The project was approved by the ECNEC in February 2018.
The overall progress of the project is 30 per cent. Of this work, 30 per cent earth-filling and 80 per cent boundary wall construction have been completed. They claimed that the development work was hampered due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
These were revealed during a review meeting on the implementation status of the ongoing projects of BPC held on January 07 this year.
Another project titled 'Facilities development in certain tourist attractions of the country on the occasion of celebrating Tourism Year' was undertaken in January 2017 at a cost of Tk 536.5 million.
BPC has proposed extending the project duration until 2021. The project got approval from the ECNEC in April 2017. BPC claimed that the overall progress is 70 per cent.
It took up another project titled 'Upgrading of NHTTI and repair and development of Sonamasjid Parjatan motel in Chapainawabganj' in 2017 at a cost of Tk 436.0 million.
It has also proposed extending the project tenure until June 2021. The corporation claimed that the overall progress of the project is 40 per cent.
Another project was undertaken in 2017 at Hatia and Nijhum Dweep of Noakhali district to construct tourist centres at a cost of Tk 496.1 million (revised). The project got ECNEC nod in June 2018. BPC said the overall progress was 10 per cent.
BPC took up a project to construct tourist centre in Panchagarh in 2018 at a cost of Tk 224.7 million. The project duration is June 2021. The revised DPP prepared as per the design set by the consultant will be sent to the Planning Commission for approval.
A project to conduct a feasibility study on the BPC installations with an aim to enhance their capacity was undertaken in 2017 at a cost of Tk 49.8 million.
BPC has proposed revising the duration until February 2021. The DPP was sent to the ministry in three phases. The overall progress of the work is 70 per cent. A consultant has also been appointed.
Another project is being implemented since July 2018 at Mahananda near Sheikh Hasina Bridge in Chapainawabganj to construct a tourist centre at a cost of Tk 403.8 million. The project duration is until June 2021. But the tendering process has been halted due to legal complexities.
A project titled 'Creating facilities at Durgasagar in Barishal' was undertaken in 2019 at a cost of Tk 161.8 million. BPC has proposed extending the duration of the project until June 2021. The work has not started yet.
A project titled 'Tourist centre construction at Adarsha Nagar under Mohanganj upazila in Netrakona' was undertaken in 2019 to be completed by June 2021 at a cost of Tk 98.6 million. The overall progress of the project is 11 per cent.
It was found time to time that BPC is a loss-making organization which is run as per the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation Order, 1972 (President's Order). The BPC authorities claim that the word of doing business has not been mentioned anywhere in the ordinance.
It was noticed while talking with the BPC officials that BPC has no obligation to be commercially viable despite making huge investments. The government provides them with both annual development programme (ADP) fund and authorized capital every year.
A corporation source said initially, the amount of the authorized capital was Tk 150 million which has been raised to over Tk 500 million along with ADP allocation. The ADP allocation varies from Tk 400 million to over Tk 1.0 billion.
The corporation claims itself as government tourism organization after Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) labelled itself as National Tourism Organisation.
When contacted, BPC manager (public relations) Ziaul Haque Hawlader declined to make comments on the issues.
Tourism experts, however, said if BPC claims itself as the government tourism organization, it should not be busy with the construction of hotels and motels. Rather it should focus more on tourism promotion, marketing, image building, branding which is hardly visible in the activities of both the BTB and BPC, they added.