Khulna-Mongla Rail Link
Zarif Mahmud: A 64.750 km broad gauge railway line from Khulna to Mongla is going to be constructed for 11 years. But it was supposed to be built in just three years. But due to various reasons, the project titled ‘Khulna-Mongla Port Railway Construction’ has been repeatedly extended and revised. This time the amendment has been proposed for the second time in the Planning Commission.
Through the Khulna-Mongla railway project, the connection with Mongla Port will be established, and more tourists will be able to come to Sundarbans.
According to the project source, the first cost of this railway construction was estimated at Tk 1,721.39 crore. From there, the first amendment increased to Tk 2,080.22 crore. Now again through the second amendment, the total expenditure is increased to Tk 4,260.89 crore.
The cumulative financial progress of the project till November last year is Tk 3,647.92 crore. Which is 85.61 percent of the total project cost. At this time, the physical progress has been 96 percent. But there are also questions about the quality of the work that has already been completed. The news plan is from the Kashin source.
The reason for extending the project period for the fifth time by another year and 7 months is that due to the poor quality of the soil in the project area, the project work has to be carried out with the expert opinion after a new design review. Therefore, the desired progress of the work was not possible.
In addition, regular close monitoring by consultants, contractors and project representatives continues as actual settlement is higher than the approved design settlement. As a result, more time is required.
It is further stated that some amount of land acquired for the project has been received from the concerned District Commissioner’s office on November 3, 2016 and January 1, 2017. The land acquisition process is still ongoing. The land of Dvigaraj station approach road has not yet been acquired.
Delay in land acquisition has led to delay in commencement of work and completion of construction work is currently facing problems due to non-completion of acquisition. On the whole, due to logistical reasons, the sanctioned period of the contract for completion of the remaining 13 percent of the contract and possible remedial works would be better by June 30 this year instead of December last year.
Apart from this, another 12 months defect liability period will be required after the completion of the work as per the contract. Which needs to be included with the duration of RDPP.
According to sources, the original sanctioned period of the project was from September 2010 to December 2013. Later, the period was extended by one year to 2014 without any increase in expenditure.
This is not the end of the work. The period was extended by 3.5 years till June 2018 without increasing the expenditure for the second time. After that, the first amendment of the project did not increase the cost, but the third time without increasing the cost, the period was extended by 2 years till June 2020. The work is not finished this time either.
Later, the period was extended by two and a half years till December 2022 without increasing the expenditure for the fourth time. Now in the second amendment it has been proposed to extend the period till July 2024 by 1 year and 7 months for the fifth time.
The reason for the second revision of the project is that the finalization and approval of the second variation of the second revised DPP (Development Project Proposal) with inclusion of resources and essential new items is not yet possible, and the payment of the bill receivables based on the additional work of the contractor is not possible. Hence the contractor’s cash-flow is disrupted.
Due to this, the progress of the work is also affected. Besides, the tender called for implementation of signaling and telecommunication work of the project with government funding instead of PA sector was approved on August 7 last year on the recommendation of appropriate authorities. Last year Notification of Award is issued. The work is expected to be completed by March this year.
It is necessary to extend the duration of the project till December 31, 2024 to complete all activities including completion of project work, preparation of PCR, handover of the project.
However, according to the instructions of the PIC meeting held on June 27 last year and the PSC meeting held on June 28 last year, alternative and acceptable technical proposals will be available from the consultant to reduce the construction time and avoid the approach filling stage construction on both ends of the VUP as far as possible.
Therefore, approval is proposed for final handover of project till 30th June this year without 12 months DLP and 31 July 2024 for final handover of project with return of 12 months DLP, BG.
IMED opinion on extension of project period: IMED has given opinion on extension of project period by one year and 7 months till July 2024.
In this case, IMED called the project implementation work has almost reached the end. As of October, last year, the cumulative actual progress of the project is 96.20 percent and the financial progress is 84.86 percent. The project office and the submitted work plan should be completed within the proposed time frame.
Besides, it has been advised to contact the district administration to complete the acquisition of the remaining land proposed for acquisition and under process. Besides discussing the cross-cutting issues related to the land of other institutions and suggesting speedy disposal.
Besides, in the inspection of the 25-meter-long No. 10 bridge, the fatal technical defect of the bridge was found due to the fact that the soil of the embankment on both sides of the bridge has not yet settled.
To avoid this situation, consulting firms were sent to Kuwait for technical solutions.
The soil boring work of surface consulting firm is very important. Provided technical advice from consulting firms to resolve issues arising. The constructed railway line has been constructed along most of the wetlands of Khulna-Bagerhat district, so the settlement of embankment soil is taking a long time.
Also, undesirable conditions are being created somewhere. As a result, frequent design revisions are required. This proves the weak feasibility of this project. Bangladesh Railways has been advised to carry out more due diligence in developing such projects in future to verify proper feasibility.
Question on Quality of Work: IMED inspected the constructed railway station and service area buildings and found that the timber, doors, hasbolds, locks, window grills etc. fitted or used in these buildings were of very poor quality. In this case it is said that the fittings of the rooms have not been connected yet. It is incomprehensible how such low-quality material was used in the fit. In this regard, there is negligence in the monitoring of the consulting firm.
It is advisable to know IMED by changing other low-quality items including fast used wood.
Member of the Physical Infrastructure Department of the Planning Commission in charge of the project. Mohammad Emdad Ullah Mian told that through the proper implementation of the project, it will be possible to connect the Mongla sea port with the existing railway network by constructing a 64.750 km broad gauge railway line from Khulna to Mongla.
At the same time, the economic development of the country will be possible by establishing regional communication through railways.
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