Ctg Wasa officials keep going on foreign trips
Six officials of Chattogram Water Supply and Sewerage Authority have made trips to the US and Turkey since May 12, when the government issued a restriction on foreign trips of government officials as part of an austerity measure.
On Thursday, Chattogram Wasa Managing Director AKM Fazlullah, Deputy Managing Director (finance) Samsul Alam, Chief Engineer Maksud Alam, Superintendent Engineer Mohammad Mahabubul Alam and Additional Secretary of Local Government Department (water supply division) Khairul Islam left for the US "for training" under the Bhandal Jhuri Water Supply Project.
In June, Deputy Managing Director (admin) Tahera Ferdous and Superintendent Engineer Arifur Rahman visited Turkey under another project.
The finance ministry on May 12 issued a circular, saying all types of foreign trips, including study tours, at the expense of operating and development budgets for all government officials would remain suspended until further notice.
Another circular issued by the ministry said foreign trips of officials of all government, statutory, state-owned, autonomous and semi-autonomous organisations and state-run companies and financial institutions will remain suspended.
About the trip to the US, a spokesperson for Chattogram Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (CWASA) said the 14-day trip was for training and inspection of factories before making purchases.
Superintendent Engineer Arifur Rahman who recently returned from a trip to Turkey, said, "We did not go abroad on government funds. The cost was borne by the project contractor. That's why we got permission from the government to travel."
Chief Engineer Maksud Alam and Superintendent Engineer Mohammad Mahabubul Alam could not be reached for comments.
South Korean firm Taeyoung E&C is the contractor for the Bhandal Jhuri Water Supply Project.
Twenty-seven CWASA officials made headlines in 2019 by travelling to Uganda for training.
Akter Kabir Chowdhury, secretary of Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) Chattogram, said the contractor paying for the trip only meant that it received the money from the project. If there is an investigation, it will be found that the officials travelled on public money.
Sources said over 80 percent physical work of the Bhandal Jhuri Water Supply Project has already been done.
The original deadline for the project was in 2020. But the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) extended it to June 2023, approving Tk 1,036 crore more, which took the total cost of the project to Tk 1,195 billion.