Govt goes for 4-lane Dhaka-Ctg highway

Restarts the project, fresh tender likely today
M Abul Kalam Azad and Hasan Jahid Tusher
The project for upgrading Dhaka-Chittagong Highway to a four-lane road is about to get a new lease of life, as the Awami League (AL) government is scheduled to publish an international invitation for pre-qualifying tender for it today, following cancellation of the immediate past bids. Initiated in September 2006, tender for the much needed project were cancelled twice, first in April and then in July of 2007.
The first tender was scrapped by the last caretaker government reportedly due to various loopholes in the procedure while the second one was also cancelled by the same government for violation of Public Procurement Regulation (PPR).
After the cancellation of the second tender, some of the pre-qualified firms filed a writ with the High Court challenging the government’s decision which was later upheld by the court.
Due to the delay in the implementation of the project, the government estimated cost is now as high as Tk 2,400 crore compared to the previous estimated cost of Tk 2,168 crore, government officials said.
Moreover, the state could have saved an additional Tk 300 crore by finalising the previous bids, as the lowest quote of the pre-qualified firms was Tk 1,700 crore.
The fresh move was sparked by Communication Minister Syed Abul Hossain’s instruction to Communication Secretary Iqbal Mahmood for taking measures to restart the project immediately.
The new invitation for pre-qualifying tender, finalised by senior government officials, is likely to be published in today’s newspapers and on the website of the communication ministry.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) gave its nod to the project, directing the communication minister to restart and complete the upgrading of the highway soon, as the government is committed to fulfilling its election pledges to the people.
“The government has taken a fresh initiative to resume the project by solving all previous complexities,” Communication Secretary Iqbal Mahmood told The Daily Star in his office yesterday.
He said submission of performance guarantees in US dollars within a maximum of 28 days of pre-qualification is incorporated as a requirement in the fresh tender invitation.
Iqbal said the priority level of the project to the new government is right after the Padma Multipurpose Bridge.
“The project will be implemented soon, since not only it has important socio-economic ramifications, but also because it will ease the traffic,” he added.
Amid a political chaos in the country, the last BNP-led four-party alliance government first invited tender for upgrading of the 190-kilometre highway between Daudkandi and Chittagong in September 2006, but the project never made any headway due to bureaucratic red tapes and negligence through the tenures of two governments.
The project was thrown into further uncertainty when the communication ministry, and the Roads and Highway Department (RHD) engaged in a blame game over the details of the invitation for tender.
In the second invitation, it was said that performance guarantees must be submitted within seven days of pre-qualification, while PPR allowed a maximum of 28 days for it.
RHD was in favour of seven days while the ministry termed the position a gross violation of PPR, and scrapped the bidding.
Both sides since then were blaming each other for the delay in implementing the project.
Project Director Mostafa Kamal yesterday said there will be a slight change in the design of the highway.
“I hope all formalities will be completed by the year end, so construction may start early next year,” he added.
The country’s busiest highway linking the prime port city and the capital has become a death trap due to its narrowness while the number of vehicles on it has been rising geometrically over the years. All governments gave utmost importance to the highway’s expansion, but none could move the project forward successfully.
Once the highway is upgraded, the communication secretary believes, the country will be connected with the proposed Asian Highway, boosting international trade.
Highway crashes will also be significantly reduced, he noted.


Related News

Bangladesh lifts ban on visiting tourists

World Tourism Day today News Desk : The government is set to withdraw embargo on the visit of foreign tourists to Bangladesh as the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 on Monday recommended doing so if the tourists can show their ‘full vaccine certificates’ on arrival. Civil aviation and tourism state minister Md Mahbub ... Read more

UNICEF Bangladesh Ambassador Mim visits children affected by the floods

News Desk : UNICEF National Ambassador for Bangladesh Bidya Sinha Mim is visiting Sylhet this week to meet children whose lives have been upended by floods that ravaged northeastern Bangladesh in May and June this year, according to a press release Thursday. The widespread flooding affected the lives of 7.2 million people, including 3.5 ... Read more

Bangladesh plans to hire 6,000 social workers to improve child protection services

News Desk : Bangladesh plans to hire 6,000 additional social workers to improve the effectiveness of the provision of child protection services at the local level. This hiring will increase the workforce from the current 3,000 social workers to 9,000, representing a 200% increase in the number of social workers. The statement was made ... Read more

SSC, HSC equivalent exams for 2023 will be held on all subjects

News Desk : The Secondary School Certificate, Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent examinations will be held on all subjects and with full marks from 2023, said a circular issued on Sunday. Inter-Education Board Coordination Committee released a circular in this regard that was signed by its chief, professor Tapan Kumar Sarkar on Sunday. The ... Read more

SSC, equivalent exams begin today

News Desk : The Secondary School Certificate and its equivalent examinations for 2022 are going to start from today. Some 2,021,868 students are expected to take part in the examinations this year. Of them, 1,599,711 would participate in SSC, 2,68,495 in Dakhil, and 153,662 in vocational examinations. Some 3,790 centres were made available for ... Read more

International Literacy Day: Government now aims 100% literacy by 2030

News Desk : About 24.40 percent of adults aged 15 and over remain illiterate, although the ruling Awami League pledged in its 2008 election manifesto to end illiteracy by 2014. The goal of achieving universal literacy by 2014 was also set out in the National Education Policy 2010 created in 2009 by the AL-led ... Read more

Uber made BDT 45 billion in economic contributions to Bangladesh Last year: report

News Desk : Public First, a UK-based policy research firm, conducted the research and produced the Ubers 2021 Bangladesh Economic Impact Report, which was released today at a ceremony in the capital. The study shows how Uber is helping to transform the on-demand economy for users, driver partners and the general public by producing ... Read more

Tea workers return to work after 15 days

Many of them say Tk-50 hike inconsistent with current prices of essentials Mintu Deshwara After a 15-day work abstention, tea workers resumed work for a daily wage of Tk 170 yesterday morning. Majority of them expressed their dissatisfaction over the Tk 50 pay hike and said they resumed work as they had no alternative. “My ... Read more

Impact of climate change: 14.8 million people at danger of starvation by 2030

News Desk : According to the Global Food Policy Report-2022, 14.8 million people would be at danger of becoming hungry by 2030 as a result of climate change. The analysis, created by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) says, 11.3 million people would go hungry in 2030 if climate change had no effect. ... Read more

National Mourning Day today

The nation is set to observe National Mourning Day today. The government and numerous political, socio-economic and cultural organisations have chalked out programmes to mark the 47th martyrdom anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members. On this day in 1975, Bangabandhu was brutally assassinated by a group of ... Read more

Tea garden workers begin strike for wage hike

Zaman Monir Bangladesh Cha Shramik Union, an organisation of tea garden workers, went on a countrywide strike from Saturday for an indefinite period demanding a hike in their daily wages. Leaders and activists of the organisation’s Sylhet and Chattogram divisional units expressed their solidarity on Friday night with the organisation’s Moulvibazar unit that the daily ... Read more

Over 14,000 children die of drowning in Bangladesh annually: WHO, UNICEF

News Desk : In Bangladesh, more than 14,000 children drown each year, according to a joint media release from the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Over 14,000 children in Bangladesh die from drowning each year, making it the second largest cause of mortality for children under the age of five in the country. The ... Read more

HC bans rooftop train journey

Action against rail officials if passengers travel on train roof News Desk : The Bangladesh Railway authorities were criticized by the High Court on Thursday (July 21, 2022) for poor administration of the railway services, including ticket scalping, and it was noted that no passenger is allowed to ride on the train roof. “If ... Read more

Nation celebrating Eid-ul-Azha

Eid-ul-Azha, one of the biggest religious festivals of the Muslims, is being celebrated across Bangladesh on Sunday with due solemnity, a sense of sacrifice and religious fervour amid the Covid outbreak for the second consecutive year.The celebrations began with Eid congregations all over the country followed by the sacrifice of cattle head in the name ... Read more

No motorcycle registration without driver’s license

News Desk : On Tuesday, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority said that starting on September 15, no registration number will be assigned to any motorcycle if the driver lacked a valid driving license.The order, issued by the authority, was given to inform people about it, said the BRTA director (engineering) Sitangshu Shekhar Biwas.Currently, the ... Read more

PM Hasina inaugurates Padma Bridge

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Padma Multipurpose Bridge on Saturday. The prime minister unveiled the inauguration plaque of the much-anticipated 6.15 kilometre Padma Bridge for vehicular movement at 11:58am at Mawa end. Speaking at the auspicious moment of inaugurating the bridge, an emotion-choked prime minister remembered Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the family members ... Read more

Physical work of Bangladesh’s First underground metro rail to begin in Sept

News Desk : Physical work on Bangladesh’s first underground metro rail, formerly known as Mass Rapid Transit Line-1, or MRT-1, will start within September this year. MAN Siddique, managing director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd, revealed the information at a press conference at Bangabandhu International Convention Centre in Dhaka, on Wednesday. He said ... Read more

SSC, equivalent exams postponed due to worsening flood situation

The government on Friday postponed this year’s Secondary School Certificate and equivalent examinations, scheduled to begin on June 19, due to the worsening flood situation. A press release, issued by the education ministry on the day, said that due to worsening flood situation SSC general, SSC vocational and Dakhil examinations under all boards are being ... Read more

Army deployed to manage heavy flooding in Sylhet: ISPR

Members of Bangladesh Army have been deployed to manage the heavy flooding and its aftermath in Sylhet district. The deployment comes following a request from the civil administration, according to the ISPR. Talking to our Sylhet correspondent, Mujibur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Sylhet, said members of Bangladesh Army will rescue marooned people using boats. The ... Read more

Spectacular arrangements surrounding the opening of Padma Bridge

News Desk : Last minute preparations are underway in the bridge area. The Padma Bridge is going to be opened on 25 June. The inauguration of the Padma Bridge on June 25 will be celebrated in a manner that will truly let the general public be a part of the achievement – Bangladesh’s first independently ... Read more