Chittagong port connecting road
Mahfuz Emran: A project has been undertaken for the development of communication and transport system with Chittagong port. In the proposed project, 11.45 km road will be constructed. It has estimated the cost of Tk 295.81 crore per kilometer, which is the highest in the history of Bangladesh as a road construction per kilometer. The Planning Commission has raised questions on the matter.
The concerned ministry is not heeding the talk of ensuring maximum service to the people by reducing the cost of the proposed project. The commission has given an opinion to determine the cost rationally considering the current economic reality.
To ensure a reliable passenger and goods transport system with the Chittagong port, the Sasek Chittagong Port Access Road Development Project has been undertaken by the Road Transport and Highways Department. The project will be implemented by the Department of Roads and Highways (RHD). Out of the total cost of the project, government funding is Tk 2,319 crore and Asian Development Bank loan is Tk 1,268 crore. Such a picture emerged in the working paper prepared by the Planning Commission for the meeting of the Project Appraisal Committee.
Nikhil Kumar Das, Joint Head (Road Transport Wing) of the Planning Commission’s Physical Infrastructure Department told Daily Industry, “We have held a PEC meeting on the project. A question has been raised about the proposal to spend around Tk 296 crore per km. A detailed explanation has been sought from RHD in this regard. I have asked to propose the cost in accordance with the current project. It is not final yet.
According to the Planning Commission, Tk 28 crore have been proposed for the construction of a toll plaza and facility area under the project. It is not mentioned what kind of facilities the toll plaza will have. The Commission has also questioned the justification of such expenditure proposal of RHD.
Another recently proposed project of Roads and Public Ways has proposed such an unusual expenditure. But the ongoing four-lane projects of the same department cost per kilometer within one hundred crores.
How much cost on any road?
Mawa Expressway is known as the most beautiful road in the country till date. Even there, not so much was spent, Tk 183 crore were spent per kilometer. Apart from this, for making four lanes, it is proposed to spend Tk 85.79 crore per kilometer in Bhanga-Jeshore-Benapole project, Tk 82 crore per kilometer in Dhaka-Sylhet project and Tk 94.31 crore per kilometer in Elenga-Hatikumrul-Rangpur project. Therefore, the Commission has questioned the rationale of spending so much on the Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar highway project under this organization.
Questions have also been raised about the cost of various sectors of the project. In the proposal, the cost of 52 land acquisition and rehabilitation has been estimated at Tk 1,504 crores. Under the project, structure culverts 26 489.35 m, bridge 158.32 m, overpass 9 142.18 m, ROB 1 391.16 m, (four sluice gates) are proposed to be constructed and against this estimated expenditure of Tk 364.58 crores.
Tk 67 crore has been proposed for the construction of 28,652 meters road median and lane divider. Construction site management/maintenance and engineers supervision and quality control facilities of the road have been estimated to cost Tk 45 crore. In the project, an expenditure of Tk 1.36 crore has been proposed for the installation of ITS and OFC system and Tk 68 crore for earthworks of 11.225 lakh cubic meters. Tk 71 crore has been proposed for transfer of utilities. The commission raised questions about these expenses.
It is known that the total cost of the project was Tk 2,280 crore in the Finance Department’s Manpower Committee meeting held on February 22. But suddenly before sending it to the Planning Commission, a proposal has been made to the Planning Commission to increase the expenditure by Tk 71 crore.
Regarding the cost of Tk 296 crore per kilometer, Syed Mainul Hasan, Chief Engineer of RHD, told Daily Industry, “The DPP (Development Project Proposal) evaluation of the project is underway. DPP is not finalized yet, it is an internal matter. It would not be right to disclose anything now. Expenses are incurred for various reasons. If it is more, the government will assess it. The road is high and low, and the bridge has two to six lanes. Somewhere there are more bridges. Due to these reasons, the cost increases. But we will accept the assessment given by the government.
In order to achieve greater accessibility, safe and effective communication system on the Chittagong Port Access Road through the project, the existing two-lane 11.450 km long Chittagong Port Access Road with 7.50 km service lane on one side will be 6 lanes and the 3.950 km later section will be 4 lanes with service lanes on both sides. will be promoted.
Construction of road dividers, simplification of turns and ensuring controlled and safe entry/exit system on major roads will ensure safe movement of vehicles at a speed of 80 km/h. Travel time from Salimpur Union in Chittagong district to Chittagong Port will be reduced by about 50 percent or about 15 minutes. The project will be implemented by the Directorate of Roads and Public Ways (RHD) from April 1, 2023 to June 30, 2028, if approved.
Objectives of the project
To ensure a reliable, fast and safe cargo transportation system with Chittagong port. Establishing sub-regional connectivity with Chittagong seaport through international corridors, ensuring adequate safety arrangements for local slow-moving vehicles (SMVT) by constructing separate service lanes on both sides of the highway. Ensuring safe roads for vulnerable road users, elderly, women, children and other disabled persons, reducing road accidents, expanding regional connectivity with SEC Corridor, BIMSTEC Corridor and CIRC Corridor to increase business and trade activities and contribute to the economic growth of the country.
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