Sunday, September 22, 2019

India-funded projects worth $7.36 billion progress at a snail's pace

  • Zafar Ahmed, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-09-09 16:34:39 BdST

bdnews24

Projects worth more than $7.36 billion undertaken by Bangladesh under the credit agreements signed with India have been bogged down by lengthy land acquisition processes and design changes.

The government has used only $568.8 million of the total fund under three lines of credit (LoC) extended by India at different times over the past nine years, according to a report by the Economic Relations Division.

The government took up 47 projects under these agreements and has used $536 million of the $862 million under the first LoC and $32.8 million of $2 billion from the second LoC, according to a recent Bangladesh-India joint monitoring meeting in Dhaka.

And a third LoC of $4.5 billion remains as yet untapped.

The incomplete projects funded by the first LoC met some complications in relation to the acquisition of land but these issues have now been resolved, ERD Joint Secretary Md Shahriar Kader Siddiky told bdnews24.com.

The government completed 12 of 15 projects under the first LoC. All the projects belong to the railway ministry. Only 62.18 percent of the total loan amount of $536 million has been utilised.

Work on the Khulna-Mongla railway, one of the unfinished projects, began in 2016. The deadline has since been extended from June 2018 to June 2021.

Another project- Dhaka-Tongi third and fourth dual-gauge railway was expected to be completed by June 2019 but has been extended to June 2013. 

Also, the date of completion of the relocation of Bangladesh Railways' Kulaura-Shahbajpur section has been pushed back to December next year.

The Khulna-Mongla railway construction has had 54 percent of its infrastructural work done, an ERD official told bdnews24.com. The project requires some more land to be acquired while its design will also be overhauled due to the Rupsha Bridge, he said.

In March, 2016, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council or ECNEC approved 13 of the 16 projects under the second LoC of $2 billion with two others pending approval.

Another project titled ‘Development of Infrastructure in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar’ will replace the project ‘Establishment of Dhaka IT Special Economic Zone Construction’ in Keraniganj and Mirsarai.

The government undertook 16 projects related to road transport, railway, shipping, civil aviation, local government and Teletalk in October 2017 under the third LoC.

The ECNEC has given final approval to four projects. Five are yet to be green lit while the other four are in the preparatory stage.