Sheikh Liakat Hossain from Khulna: The price of bricks has gone up by Tk 2,000 per thousand, the price of rods has gone up by about 15 per cent and the price of cement has gone up by Tk 70-80 per bag. Contractors will no longer be able to carry out development work by bringing money from home. That is why the work of thousands of crores of taka for the development of the city has stopped.
Expressing frustration, Khulna City Corporation (KCC) Ward Councilor SM Mozaffar Rashidi Reza said the words.
Atik Steel Corporation owner of the city’s Tutpara cemetery area Rafik said rod-cement prices have been rising since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. Currently the highest price ever. I have learned through the representatives of the rod-cement companies that the prices have gone up due to the crisis of raw materials in this industry abroad. They say prices will rise further.
Meanwhile, Khulna City Corporation sources said that the first tender for construction of footpath with drain from TutparaJorakal Bazar to Sahebkhali Khal was called on June 7, 2021. The second tender was called on January 24 and the third on February 23. Not a single tender was submitted. The tender process is underway for the fourth time for the construction of the drain at a cost of around Tk 3.35 crore.
Besides, two tenders have been called for the construction of a drain next to the solar park in the Sonadanga residential area of the city. No contractor has ever taken part in this work worth Tk 4.56 crore.
Not only these two works, in the last one month no contractor has participated in nine tenders for construction of drains and road repairs in different parts of the city. On February 26, 18 tenders have been called for canal excavation and drain repair. March 30 is the last day to submit tenders. Regular KCC contractors are not taking part in these works.
Meanwhile, 71 roads and drains in 31 wards of the city are being repaired but the pace of construction has slowed down due to rising cost of construction materials. Many have stopped working in the middle. At present, work worth about a thousand crores is stopped. This has increased the suffering of the people of the city.
Neyamat Hossain, owner of Jewel Enterprise in the city’s big market area, said the price of clinker, the main ingredient in cement production in the international market, has gone up. That is why the companies have increased the prices. In the last one week, it has increased by Tk 20 per sack.
Rod manufacturer GPH Khulna Marketing Manager Saiful Islam said the price of rod has been rising for a month and a half. The main materials for making rods are scrap and billets. These come mainly from Europe. The price of this material has increased a lot abroad.
He added that they have a demand of 3,000 metric tons of rod per day. He does not know how much is being produced at present. The rod market has become volatile. However, this situation will not last long.
Khulna City Corporation contractor Monirul Islam Babu said he was constructing a drain in the Boyra Bazar area of the city. He has also worked there for the last few days. He has stopped work there due to abnormally high prices of rod and cement. If he buys rods and cement at such a high price, he will lose a lot.
He said traders had raised the price of rod and cement on the pretext of the Russia-Ukraine war. But where did the rods produce before the start of the war? He urged the government to look into the industry. Otherwise, the development activities will stop, he said.
According to the KCC Public Works Department, the city is currently developing a drainage system at a cost of Tk 623 crore and a road development and rehabilitation project at a cost of Tk 708 crore. Of this, works worth Tk 322 crore are being carried out in 31 wards of the city under the road repair project. Tk 126 crore is being spent on waterlogging project. New tenders have been called for another Tk 100 crore.
Besides, work of road department, KDA, public works department is going on for another five hundred crore taka. These works have been affected by the increase in the price of construction materials.
According to sources, KCC’s two projects worth Tk 723 crore and Tk 708 crore were approved in 2016. The two projects were approved as per the 2018-19 rates of the local government engineering department. For this reason, tenders have to be called according to the bids of three years ago. At present the market price is about 30 percent higher than this.
It has been seen in the tender of KCC development work that the price of 60 grade rod has been fixed at Tk. 8 per kg. The price of 20 mm stone is Tk 175 per cubic foot, 12 mm Tk 184 and Tk 400 per bag of cement. On Tuesday (March 22) in Khulna market, rod was sold at Tk 89-92 per kg, stone at Tk 225-230 and cement at Tk 480 per bag.
Taslim Ahmed Asha, general secretary of KCC’s Contractor Welfare Association, said, “Even if you buy rod-cement at a higher price, you will get the bill according to KCC’s price.” Each material is losing up to 30 percent. He added that many small contractors are sitting on the road. No one is participating in the new tender for fear of loss.
KCC executive engineer Mashiuzzaman Khan said, the project has been passed at the rate of 2018-19. Now there is no opportunity to increase the price of construction materials. He added that no one was participating in the new tender for drainage work. The contractors do not want to do the ongoing work. Development work worth thousands of crores of taka is stopped.
When asked, KCC Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleq said the project needs to be revised to increase government rates. The local government minister has been informed about the matter. They are waiting for his decision.
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