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Allegations Of Irregularities

Govt scraps Karail flats project under PPP

Published : Sunday, 11 November, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 306

The government has finally scrapped its public private partnership (PPP) project - construction of multistoried apartment buildings having 4662 No.s flats with other utility and auxiliary facilities at Lalsharai (Karail), Mohakhali in Dhaka on PPP - due to allegations of irregularities in preparing the draft proposal of the project giving illegal benefits to the private partner.
Although the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Ministry of Housing and Public Works (MHPW) were interested to start the project at Karail slum before the election, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has not given nod on the draft due to the allegations.
The Prime Minister wants to take some times for the project. Without getting green signal from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the PWD and the ministry has finally given up its move for the project, according to the ministry and department sources.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has already started investigation about the proposed project and relevant persons and officials of the ministry and the department, according to the ACC sources.
When contacted, ACC Secretary Shamsul Arefin told this correspondent that they have received a complaint against the project. The authority has already taken necessary steps to investigate the allegations after scrutiny. If it's proved, the authority will take further steps.
According to ACC sources, the complainant - Engineer Nasim Sarkar Linkon - blamed PWD chief engineer for the irregularity in the project to earn some crores of worth by giving illegal benefits to the PPP partners. He was also trying to manage higher authorities for an extension in his job through the PPP partners.
When contacted, Housing and Public Works Ministry's outgoing Secretary Shahid Ullah Khandker on Monday last told this correspondent that there is no progress for the project as the top brass of the government are not interested about the project. Without getting signals from the higher authority, they have suspended move for it.
When contacted, PWD Chief Engineer Rafiqul Islam denied making any comment on the project. However, one of his close aides told this correspondent that the PMO has given the project back considering huge loss of the state. It will not be approved in future.
The Public Works Department (PWD) has prepared the proposed project for implementing under the government's PPP policy to construct a total 4662 modernised and luxurious flats on around 43 acres of land that are illegally occupied by the slum dwellers.
The PWD will take necessary steps to recover the unused land evicting the slum people occupying the land for years for implementing the project. More than thousands poor families have been living there.
In the project profile, the PWD chief engineer has shown the value of the land around only 20 percent of its actual price during evaluation of land. By giving the land in low price and sharing flats on a ratio of 40:60 between the government and PPP partners, the authority was planning to earn huge amount of worth from the project, the complainer claimed.
According to PWD officials, the proposal was made and forwarded to the PMO responding to the request of Sikder Group, a most influential business group of the country. The group wants to implement the project under PPP policy of the present government.
According to the draft of project profile, the expenditure of the project was estimated at Tk 11,046 crore including the value of the land and other construction expenditures. Excluding the land value, the project cost will stand at Taka 5,625.12 crore. The land price in the Gulshan or Mahakhali area was shown on Tkl 1.75 crore to Tk 2.25 crore per katha.
According to land office sources, the present market value of the land is more than Taka 5 crore per katha. As per the government rules, the authority must have to estimate the price adding at least three times higher prices for the land for handing over for a PPP project.

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