In a rare move, the railways ministry yesterday changed the directors of 17 projects of Bangladesh Railway, aiming to facilitate their quick implementation.
The ministry made the decision to execute the prime minister's directive for taking steps to ensure "one project, one project director," officials said.
However, 15, out of the 17 project directors, have to carry out their new roles as additional charges along with their main tasks, due to shortages of necessary manpower, they said.
In this regard, two circulars were issued yesterday, the last day to inform the Prime Minister's Office about the measures respective ministries and agencies took to implement the PM's directives, they added.
"We have already informed the [PMO] after executing the prime minister's directives," Khaled Hussain, joint secretary (development-2) of railways ministry, told The Daily Star yesterday.
As per the existing rules, each development project will have a permanent project director.
In a letter sent to different ministries and agencies, including Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division, on January 20 this year, the PMO said it has found that an official of the Road Transport and Highways Division was working as PD of 14 projects.
Two officials were PDs of 13 projects each, five officials were PDs of 10 or more projects each, while 38 officials of the Local Government Division were PDs of at least two or more projects each, reads a IMED document.
The PMO said similar pictures were found in the ministries of power, energy and mineral resources, railways, water resources, and housing and public works.
"The prime minister termed it "worrying" and gives directives to take immediate action," reads the IMED document, citing the PMO letter.
In this situation, the railways ministry yesterday made the changes in project directors, three officials of the railways ministry and BR told this correspondent.
The BR is now implementing 36 development and three technical assistance projects at a cost of Tk 1,41,883.70 crore.
Several BR officials have to discharge their responsibilities as PDs in more than one projects, which is considering as one of the obstacles to proper implementation of the projects, office sources said.
"However, changes of so many PDs in a single day is a rare incident," a BR official said, wishing not to be named.
In a circular, 16 BR officials were given charges of 16 projects. However, one of them will carry out his duties as a PD only.
Golam Mostafa, who was the director (procurement) of BR, was given the charge of the PD of the project for construction of the dual-gauge double line from Joydebpur to Ishwardi.
In another circular, Al Fattah Md Masudur Rahman, who was the chief engineer (west) of BR, was made the project director of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge Construction Project.
The incumbent PD of the bridge project was made the additional director general (infrastructure) of BR and Monirul Islam Firozi, PD of Joydebpur to Ishwardi rail lines, was made the chief engineer (west) of BR recently.
The rest 15 PDs have to discharge their responsibilities alongside their duties in different projects and railway offices.
Asked about giving additional charges of the BR officials, Joint Secretary Khaled Hussain said they have to do so due to a lack of necessary manpower.
He added that they would take steps so that the officials could only work as PDs.