Good planning still pays20 January 2021
MEDIA report in a national daily on Tuesday highlighted how bad planning and good planning of development projects make huge cost differentials and none but project officials at respective Ministries and at Planning Commission who make cost estimates are the ones can't avoid the responsibility. It said the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) took up a large number of bridge projects — 100 to 130 projects four-and-a-half-year duration — at a cost of about Tk 3,900 crore to improve rural communication to boost agricultural and non-agricultural production and create their easy market access.
All bridges were supposed to open to public use by June this year, but LGED now seeks an extension of three years time and also demanded an additional allocation of Tk 2,530 crore to complete the projects. On the other hand in a similar situation the roads and highways department (RHD) had taken an eight-and-a-half-year-project at a cost of around Tk 8,400 crore in April 2013 to increase traffic volume on the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway and ensure uninterrupted road communications with the capital.
The project is almost over; officials have sought an extension of only three months while they have proposed the cost to be lowered by Tk 1,464 crore. It means they are saving this much money while time extension is just few months only. Project officials attributed this success to proper feasibility study, good management and efficient implementation. It invariably indicates how time and public money can be saved.
But we have a corrupt system of government which shelter stealing and misappropriation of funds mostly by corrupt government officials and contractors. This is why time and cost over-run, often for several times is a common feature to wrap up projects. But the project proposing reducing the cost for Kanchpur, Meghna and Gumti 2nd Bridge has apparently a proper feasibility to require lesser consultancy while most construction materials were locally procured avoiding imports. The ECNEC is likely to approve the downward revision of the project cost soon.
We would commend the project officials whose efficiency and honesty, which is a rare commodity has contributed to saving a big part of the project cost while we would ask the LGED officials and government leaders to learn how to properly run projects can save time and cost.