Farhad Chowdhury: Dhaka WASA wants to establish an international standard research center. But under the two packages for its development, only the consultancy cost proposed for Tk 106.10 crore has been asked, which is 13.37 percent of the total project cost. The Planning Commission has questioned this. In this sector, it has been said to reduce the cost to a reasonable level by mentioning how many people will work for how many months without keeping the package of consultants. This expenditure is proposed for the project ‘Establishment of International Training and Research Institute at Dhaka Wasa’. A meeting of the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) was held on September 11. Presided over by the member (secretary) of the physical infrastructure department of the commission Mohammad Emdad Ullah Mian. Questions were raised on various proposals in the meeting. In view of this, the project proposal has been returned for compliance with various conditions. News from related sources.
However, former lead economist of the World Bank Dhaka office Zahid Hossain has raised questions about the need for such a research center. He told Daily Industry that there could be a central research center for local services. But the type of work that Dhaka WASA does and what kind of research will be done there, it is necessary to know first. After that you can talk to the consultant. He also said that the work related to water supply, sanitation, drainage has been going on globally for ages. There is a need to clarify what kind of new research there will be. Along with this, what will be the use of this kind of training and research institute in the work of WASA should also be looked into.
According to the sources, the project proposal has a consultancy cost of Tk 70 crore in a package for building, machinery and mechanical training or research. Which is 8.48 percent of the total project cost. Besides, the cost of package-2 as an architectural design and construction supervision consultant has been estimated at Tk 36.10 crore, which is 4.89 percent of the total cost. The consulting cost of these two packages stands at Tk 106.10crore.
When contacted to know about this, the president of the PEC meeting Mohammad Emdad Ullah Mian told that they have asked for information on various issues including such high expenses. Besides, they are asked why such training centers are needed and who will be involved. In particular, if there are any foreign links, then I wanted to know how to manage them. He also said that this research and training center should not be limited to WASA only. WASA officers take basic training here, but ministries and agencies in the government who do similar work are asked to join it. Even it needs to have representatives of those organizations in the management committee. For example: City Corporation, Department of Public Health Engineering etc., are involved in the work like WASA. Various such conditions have been given in the PEC meeting. Besides, it has been asked to reduce the expenditure of various sectors to a reasonable level.
According to sources, the total cost of implementing the project has been estimated at Tk 738.10 crore. Out of this, Tk 168.55 crore will be spent from government funds, Tk 60 crores from WASA’s own money and Tk 509.55 crores from foreign loans. If approved, Dhaka WASA will implement it between this year and June 2029. The project is proposed to be implemented in Dhaka North City Corporation Mirpur area.
According to the project proposal, the local government department said that Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Dhaka Wasa) provides water supply and sewage to the residents of Dhaka city. The agency provides water to about 2 crore urban dwellers in an area of 410 square kilometers and sewerage to 2 percent of the area. Currently, Dhaka WASA is providing water and sewage services through 5 water treatment plants, 906 deep tube wells and 2 sewage treatment plants. Dhaka WASA is responsible for the installation, operation and maintenance of water supply and sewage system for the city dwellers. But due to inadequacy of infrastructural resources it is not possible to provide 100% service. In addition to expanding infrastructure to serve the service area by 2030, the agency has taken steps to acquire water and sanitation management technology. The project is being undertaken as part of this.
Sources in the PEC meeting said that Tk 60 crore have been earmarked for land acquisition in the proposed project, but the amount of land to be acquired has not been stated. Apart from this, a question was raised in the meeting whether the district administration is involved in the cost estimation. In the proposal, an allocation of Tk 90 lakh has been kept for land clearance and installation of utilities. It is requested to know what work will be done in this sector. There are 37 manpower proposals in various categories at the project implementation stage. A question has been raised as to whether any recommendation has been taken by the finance department’s manpower committee in this regard. Apart from this, the project has a proposal of Tk 30 lakhs in the human resources, Tk 50 lakhs in overtime sector and Tk 90 lakhs in the energy and repair sector. Besides, Tk 90 lakhs in stationery and stamp sector and Tk 2.80 crore in training workshop sector are also requested. In the PEC meeting, questions were also raised about the justification of these expenses. At the end of the discussion, recommendations have been given to reduce the expenditure of various sectors.
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