2 years ago

Twin projects for the same road, taken up by authorities!

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The Planning Commission (PC) is in a fix over the two separate projects taken up by the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) to widen a road, involving a substantial amount of money.

The PC held discussion with the RHD to find a solution, said an official concerned.

The RHD has undertaken two projects for widening one road in Sylhet, which created a stir inside the government planning regulator, sources said Thursday.

They said the RHD has been working to make wider the 16.35km Joyntapur-Jaflong road along the Sylhet-Tamabil highway at a cost of Tk 1.91 billion since October 2017.

The road development is still going on. Yet, the road-developer last year undertook another project costing Tk 35.86 billion in a bid to widen the same highway, they said.

A project-insider told the FE that a major portion of the newly built drains and roads on the Joynta-Jaflong alignment under the first project would need to be demolished during the Sylhet-Tamabil-highway-widening works under the second project.

"We were informed about the two projects for a same alignment while the RHD had recently brought the first project for revision to us," he said, requesting anonymity.

"When we got the revision proposal of the Joynta-Jafflong road project, we also scrutinised the last-year-approved Sylhet-Tamabil-road-widening project. Then we have found that the RHD is working on the same road!" he wondered.

"Then we called the public road-developer for a meeting and recommended cutting some provisions of the previously taken Tk 1.91-billion-cost project and finish it as soon as possible," the PC official said.

"We have found some less-priority works, including the inter-section and some drain constructions, in the first project. So, we had recommended trimming down those works under the Tk 1.91 billion scheme," he added.

The PC recommended not building an intersection at Bollahat, axel-load- regulation centre and some drains under the Joynta-Jaflong-road-development project, the official further said.

When asked, a RHD official told the FE that they had also informed the Commission that they wanted to cut the construction of Bollahat intersection for its lesser priority and wanted to trim down the land acquisition in bazaar (market) areas on the highway due to complex procedure, the project-insider said.

"Realising the overlapping we had recently sought revision of the Tk 1.91 billion Joyntapur-Jafflong-road-development project for completing it shortly," he added.

They proposed to reduce the project cost to Tk 1.24 billion from Tk 1.91 billion of the first project. Now it will require one more year to complete.

Meanwhile, the RHD had already completed 62 percent works on the Joyntapur-Jafflong road under the first project.

The department undertook the 'Widening of Joynta-Jaflong road on the Dhaka-Sylhet-Tamabil-Jaflong highways along with Tamabil land connection and Bollaghat connection-road project' at Tk 1.91 billion in October 2017.

The widening works were scheduled to be completed in June last FY2021.

But the RHD recently sought another year from the Planning Commission to complete the development works on the Joynta-Jaflong road.

Meanwhile, the road-developer had undertaken 'Upgradation of the Sylhet-Tamabil highway into four-lane, including a separate slow-moving vehicular traffic lane (SMVT)".

The purpose of both the projects is to connect neighbouring India with the capital city, Dhaka, and establish a regional connectivity.

With the financial support of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the RHD has taken up the Sylhet-Tamabil Highway upgradation project, scheduled to be completed by June 2025.

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