THE four-lane Dhaka – Chittagong highway was supposed to be concluded by December 2013. Sino-Hydro, the Chinese company that is responsible for 140km out of 192km of the highway has failed to meet the deadline. The project has run into serious trouble. The Chinese company has demanded higher allocation and a time extension of a year.
As things stand now, the time overrun and the consequent cost escalation relating to the project are a major stumbling block to the completion of expansion work on the most important highway in the country. The principal construction firm assigned to build the greater portion of the highway has completed only 30 per cent of it. The two local companies entrusted with 52 km of the highway have completed between 55 to 60 per cent of the work. Thus there is an overall deficit in terms of implementation.
Though the contract was awarded in 2010, it took till 2011 to find a suitable project consultant to be hired. What is apparent is that the government wasted valuable time for land acquisition -- an essential prerequisite to any such expansion work.
We have neither the explanation from the company nor the government as to the delay and the budget overrun. It is imperative that the matter is investigated so as to avoid repetition and accelerate pace of implementation.