RHD sets a good example for others to follow
While time extension and cost escalation of the various mega projects that are underway in the country has become a common phenomenon nowadays, it is a refreshing experience to learn that a mega project, undertaken by the Roads and Highways Department (RHD), has been completed on time. What's more, by completing all the work within the deadline, the project authorities have saved around Tk 1,400 crore. Under the "Kanchpur, Meghna and Gumti 2nd Bridge Construction and Existing Bridges Rehabilitation Project", three new bridges were constructed and three old bridges on the Dhaka-Chattogram highway were repaired. As per the Development Project Proposals (DPP), the cost of the project was set at Tk 8,486.94 crore initially, but after completion of all work, the cost stood at Tk 7,098.73 crore, meaning around Tk 1,388 crore was saved.
Now, let us look at the reasons behind this success. Apparently, the project could be completed on time because, according to the RHD, there was proper planning and step-by-step preparation by the Japanese authorities, the RHD, as well as the government. Moreover, the involvement of the Japanese authorities in design, funding and in all stages of implementation helped meet the deadline. Another key reason for the quick completion of the work was that a relatively small area of land needed to be acquired for the project.
As we have seen in case of many mega projects, a lot of time is wasted in land acquisition and managing the funds, which eventually delay the projects by three to four years. There were many instances where the authorities had to redesign the projects. The most recent case of delay in project implementation and cost escalation, as reported in this daily, was the rail bridge that is supposed to be built over Jamuna river. According to our report, the cost of the project has increased by 33 percent (amounting to Tk 3,216 crore) even before the start of the physical work.
However, the timely completion of the HRD project in question gives us hope that through proper planning and strict implementation, any project can be completed on time. All the government needs to do is ensure that there are no irregularities and that those in charge of the projects are efficient enough to carry out their responsibilities. Needless to say, the government can save hundreds of crores of taka just by timely completing the mega projects.