FT Online

Published:
2019-08-08 11:24:14 BdST

PC sends back Ishwardi ICD project proposal due to flaws


The Planning Commission (PC) has sent back a project proposal of Bangladesh Railway (BR) to set up an Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Ishwardi due to showing excessive cost of consultancy services, sources said.

They said the project evaluation committee (PEC) in a meeting last month found that the development project proposal (DPP) has not been prepared following the proper guideline of Indian Line of Credit (LoC).

The DPP of the proposed ICD, one of the potential projects under the third Indian LoC, also remained incomplete with flaws in language and information.

Sources said the Economic Relations Division (ERD) also raised objection about the DPP for not sharing it prior to placing before the PEC for final approval.

"As per the LoC guideline, any DPP must have approval from the Indian side, for which it should be sent to the ERD," said an official.

He said that fresh PEC meeting on the Tk 2.42 billion project will be held after meeting all the requirements.

The state-owned rail track development and operator has prepared the DPP to set up the ICD on its own land at Ishwardi after a feasibility study.

The Dhaka-Ishwardi route is a part of the Trans Asia Railway and it would carry freights of the neighbouring countries, apart from local ones.

A joint committee of Indian and Bangladesh railways conducted the study, following a decision of the inter-governmental railway meetings that recommended to setting up an intermodal exchange yard at a place around Jashore to facilitate transshipment of containers.

The team found Ishwardi suitable for the ICD due to its link with Trans Asia Railway through Dhaka-Ishwardi. It would also help operate rail freights with neighbouring countries.

Sources said the PEC meeting raised question about showing 13.5 per cent of the project cost as the consultancy services cost and found that the government share in the ICD project is lower than the LoC guideline.

According to LoC, the Bangladesh government's share in the LoC project should be at least 25 per cent.

The officials who attended the PEC meeting said that the high cost of consultancy services was shown under the project aid.

"If it has been shown to be paid from the government fund, the consultancy services cost in the DPP will come down and the government share in the project would be increased to 25 per cent," said one of them.

Sources said the meeting also challenged the BR proposal to implement the project under one package, observing that the project has multi-tasking works with involvement of the government other agencies, mainly public works department.

The project cost was also not assessed through the current 2018 rate of schedule, they said.

Though the BR has proposed to use more than 40 acres of land for the proposed ICD, but no price of land has been shown in the DPP.

BR officials said they would recast the DPP following the guidelines of the PEC meeting. There has been little flaws in the write up which would be corrected before sending the DPP to the ERD, they added.

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