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Project business is not good governance

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APPARENTLY the huge flashy mega-projects within the capital might seem an integral part of the city's communication infrastructure, but the murky side of dirty politics, businesses, corruption and kick-backs behind them once more echoes of a country riddled with mismanagement and poor governance.

Had these mega-projects were free of Weak governance, corruption, party politics, preferential treatments, fund crunch slowing down their progress and avoidable delays - they could have turned Bangladesh's economy overnight.

On the contrary, it's the opposite what has happened. Hundreds and thousands of crores have gone into the pockets of party men, political turncoats, corrupt traders and bureaucrats. By building these massive eye-catching structures the government has actually promoted a new trend - the trend of project businesses. It even gave it a colour to include in its governance system.

Take for instance the recently inaugurated Moghbazaar-Mouchak flyover - it is not only a textbook example of poor planning but an ideal case study of how the government has attempted to give eyewash to the public about questionable governance and development works for the past decade. The long awaited flyover was inaugurated following a huge delay and easily avoidable additional expenses.

Grave anomalies have been detected in the implementation of 69 road construction projects taken up by the country's Roads and Highway Department (RHD) last year. The Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the Planning Ministry itself in its report titled on 'Field observation and evaluation' found these anomalies in the road construction projects that started in 2009 with a budget of Tk 572 crores. Little has it achieved. In the long list of projects there are deep sea port, Bridges, rail way projects and many. The point is - a vital pre-condition for realizing them is good governance which is missing.  

Also the businesses made out in the name of undertaking the mega-projects have in no way contributed make governance system more accountable and transparent. In fact they have only served financial purposes of a handful few. What is more, distributions of these projects among party loyalists, corrupt officials and businessmen have added a new chapter in poor governance in Bangladesh.

Now past experiences tell us that due to bureaucratic bottlenecks, lack of sincerity on the part of the relevant project managers, very often implementation of projects are delayed - resulting in the increase in cost of the project. Sometimes the cost even doubled. Moreover, due to dilly dallying of relevant people, many crucial projects lost their importance even. Sadly, the project businesses continue to thrive under the government's silent sponsorship more to cover-up its poor governance. So far they have only resulted in creating a new breed of corrupt nuevo rich people in the country.  Also the governance related to handling of these projects has been appalling. It must stop.

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