It is very disappointing that two and a half years after the Khulna-Darshana Double Rail Track project got approval from the government, the project authorities have not yet appointed a consultant, let alone start its construction. Although the project, aimed at boosting trade activities with neighbouring countries using the Mongla port, was supposed to be implemented from January 2018 till December 2022, the authorities are now saying that it will take at least two more years to start the physical work. So, the project's deadline will have to be extended, meaning the project cost will also escalate.
According to the project authorities, only Tk 3.75 lakh had been released for this project against the demand for Tk 3.27 crore this fiscal year. If funds are not released as per the demand, how will the project work progress? Also, what's the point of setting a deadline for a project if that is never implemented? Now we hear that the government had categorised this as a "low-priority project", meaning that it would not get any allocation from the annual development programme (ADP). But the salaries and allowances of the project officials will be given from the ADP. Does this mean that the project officials are getting their salaries and allowances on time although they are not working for the project? This is nothing but a complete waste of public money.
It's not only the low-priority projects—the pace of projects that got allocations from the ADP was also reported to have been very slow. Last November, The Daily Star reported that there were many projects under ADP that were getting token allocations just to keep them alive for years.
There is no reason to downplay the importance of this particular project because once completed, this would meet the demands of national, regional and international traffic by increasing transportability through Dhaka-Khulna and Khulna-Chilahati corridors of Bangladesh Railway. We hope the government and project authorities will do the needful to start the work and stop further delay in implementing the project.