Staff Correspondent: Bangladesh Dairy Cooperative Union Limited (MilkVita) has incurred unusual costs for training abroad to learn how to make dairy products. Although Tk 30 lakh was taken in the original project, it was increased to Tk 75 lakh in the revised proposed project. The Planning Commission did not find any rationale for increasing the expenditure in the training sector. Considering this expenditure as unusual, it has been agreed to keep Tk 20 lakh for the training.
The proposal was made in a project to set up a factory in the char areas of greater Faridpur and surrounding areas to improve the breed of cattle and ensure diversified use of milk.
On January 26, member of the Planning Commission’s Physical Infrastructure Department (Secretary) in the Ministry of PlanningMamun-al-Rashid said,a meeting of the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) was held. The meeting also reduced the cost of additional overseas training demanded by MilkVita. In the main project, Tk 3 million was taken for training of officers abroad. In the proposed project, it was increased to Tk 75 lakh. However, the commission did not agree to the request.
Considering the Corona crisis, the commission agreed to allocate a maximum of Tk 20 lakh for overseas training of officers under the project. In the new proposal, they could not find any rationale for spending Tk 75 lakh for training of officers abroad. In this regard, a member of the Planning Commission Physical Infrastructure (Secretary) said Mamun-al-Rashid told, “We know that Milkvita produces milk through cooperatives.” I do not see any rationale for training the officers abroad by spending Tk 75 lakh for this. It is not possible for me to allow the government treasury to spend Tk 75 lakh here. So it has been reduced from Tk 75 lakhs to Tk 20 lakhs. I have set aside Tk 20 lakh to see the technology on how to make high quality dairy products.
The cost of various important sectors of the project has been determined by looking at the internet. The Planning Commission has raised questions about the issue. At the same time, it has been asked to fix the price through the technical committee by removing the information from the internet.
The proposed project estimates the cost of freezing room, cold room and packaging and ghee, butter and cheese production sections. Asked about this, a representative of Milkvita said on condition of anonymity that the rates of these sectors have been fixed according to the information received from the internet.
The PEC meeting agreed on the addition of new projects by determining the estimated cost of freezing room, cold room and packaging and ghee, butter and cheese production section through a committee.
Asked about the pricing of the UHT (High Temperature) milk plant sector in the project, the MilkVita representative said that the value of this sector has also been added to the DPP (Development Project Proposal) based on information obtained from the Internet. After a detailed discussion, the PH meeting agreed to determine the value of the UHT milk plant through a committee and to add it to the new proposed project with reference.
Mamun-al-Rashid said that many components are not used in the country. As a result, a price is determined by looking at the internet. There are many sites that are trustworthy. However, it is not final, only estimates. Even then, a committee has been asked to form an expenditure estimate.
According to Planning Commission sources, not only foreign travel, but also other expenses and decisions have been questioned. Asked about the relocation of the main factory from Faridpur Sadar to Tekerhat in Madaripur, a project official said the project steering committee (PSC) meeting was recommended to implement the project on Milkvita’s own land in Madaripur.
The value of the land proposed for acquisition at Faridpur Sadar through the district administration was fixed at around Tk 26 crore, which would be saved in the new location.
When asked about the addition of a new sector with a provision of Tk 1.5 crore for the purchase of breeding bulls in the project amendment proposal, MilkVita informed that five bulls (bulls) need to be brought from Australia and America for the development of cow breeds. Expenditure on purchase of Breeding Bull will be determined by a committee and will be added to the project.
There is no mention of unit and quantity in the building construction sector of this project. As a result, the Commission is of the view that it is necessary to specify units and quantities in the setting up of factories, officers and staff quarters, office buildings, bull sheds, milk chilling centers and mini dairy plants.
Additional General Manager (Association and Planning) of Bangladesh Dairy Cooperative Union Limited. Mustafizur Rahman told Jago News that some officials will go abroad to make high quality dairy products and develop cow breeds. For these reasons, it was proposed to spend on foreign training. However, it has been reduced to Tk 20 lakh. Some formulations will be brought from abroad. Large cow breed development is also needed. For this, extra cost was incurred in training abroad.
The main project was approved by the ECNEC meeting for implementation from January 2016 to December 2021 at a cost of Tk 344.19 crore. Then the cost of the project increased to Tk 354 crore 50 lakh. The project is being implemented in 10 districts of Dhaka and Khulna divisions. The main objective of the project is to create income generating activities and opportunities through setting up of dairy factories and socio-economic development of the rural population.
It has been proposed to revise the project to keep it afloat as some new sectors have increased costs during the implementation phase. The cost of the proposed project has increased to Tk 369.23 crore. The cumulative cost of the project till June 2021 is Tk 61.06 crore and the actual progress is 20.62 percent. The project is included in the list of ongoing investment projects in the Annual Development Program of FY 2021-22 with an allocation of Tk 100 crore.
It has been proposed to extend the duration of the project till June 2024. The progress of the project did not go as expected due to delay in appointment of project director and changed situation in Corona. That is why the project needs a little more time to implement, the concerned said.
Due to various reasons, there is a shortage of milk in the country every year. That is why the government imports powdered milk worth Tk 4,000 crore. The government has taken big plans to meet the shortage of milk in its own production. To this end, a project was taken to build a ‘hub’ in the area around Faridpur.
Faridpur will have a huge UHT milk plant, automatic ice cream plant, chocolate and candy plant. There will also be Pasturit Milk Plant, Ghee, Rasmalai, Mistidai, Labang, Butter, Cheese Production. Flavors Milk Processing Plant, Artificial Insemination Center, Micro-Biological Laboratory, Dairy Biotechnological Laboratory and Mobile Diagnostic Laboratory will be set up.
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