Saving loan money of Korea
Mahfuz Emran: Under the project ‘Procurement of 20 Meter Gauge Locomotives and 150 Passenger Carriages’, 20 Meter Gauge Diesel Engines and 150 Meter Gauge Coaches have been saved in US$ 2.2 crore. It amounts to Tk 228 crores in Bangladeshi currency at Tk 104 per dollar. Bangladesh Railway wants to buy 30 to 35 more coaches with the money saved from this loan given by South Korea.
Those concerned say that now the coach will not be available at the previous price. Each coach may incur a surcharge of up to 50 percent. As a result, the Tk 228 crore saved in South Korean debt will be used to pay for high-priced rail coaches.
A former senior official associated with the project told that $22 million has been saved under the project. I am in favor of buying the coach without refund. 30 to 35 coaches can be bought with this money. However, coaches will have to be procured at a 50 percent higher price than before. Everything has gone up in price now. The coach will not match the previous price.
According to Bangladesh Railway, the total cost of the project was Tk 1 thousand 799 crore 11 lakh. Out of this government money is Tk 384 crore 43 lakh. The remaining Tk 1 thousand 414 crore 88 lakh is South Korea’s debt. The original project was scheduled to be completed by December 2017 to June 2021. The duration of the project has been extended by three years in two phases till June 2024 without cost escalation.
The concerned also said that 20 locomotives have been purchased under the project. There is a saving of $9 million. However, the money saved in the purchase of locomotives will have to be returned to the development partners.
According to Bangladesh Railway, 40 out of 150 passenger carriages have arrived in the country under the project. Another 18 carriages will be shipped soon from South Korea. They will arrive at Chittagong port. The rest will come gradually. 20 locomotives under the scheme are currently in use by the railways.
Those concerned said that the project review meeting held at the Economic Relations Department (ERD) suggested what to do with the unused $22 million. In the light of ERD’s advice, fresh bids are sought from M/S SSRST, the carriage supplier, for procuring additional carriages. The supplier wants about 50 percent more than the current contract price.
However, Bangladesh Railway also said that EDCF is South Korea’s development financing program to support the socio-economic development of developing countries. In that case, it may be possible to negotiate with the supplier to reduce the price. EDCF Soft Loan. Therefore, it would be logical to take the initiative to use it without returning it.
Chief Planning Officer of Bangladesh Railway S. M. Salimullah Bahar told that $9 million was saved in the purchase of railway engines, which will be returned. We are implementing this under two separate loans. However, the purchase of rail coaches saved $22 million. I will buy more coaches with that money.
Regarding the purchase of coaches at increased prices, he said, the prices of all things have increased. It would be wrong to think that we will get the coach at the previous price. Currently, the prices of everything globally are on the rise.
In this regard, ERD said, an opinion can be taken from the CPTU (Central Procurement Technical Unit) regarding working as per PPR (Public Procurement Rules) at additional cost. Necessary measures can be taken in the light of checking the EDCF guidelines in this regard.
The objective of the project was to procure 20-meter gauge diesel electric locomotives and 150-meter gauge passenger carriages for Bangladesh Railways. Replacement of very old meter gauge diesel electric locomotives and 150-meter gauge passenger carriages and removal of shortage of MG DE locomotives and passenger carriages in meter gauge section.
The objective of the project is also to increase the revenue of Bangladesh Railways, increase the service of Bangladesh Railways in terms of increasing passenger and freight transportation.
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