The Sylhet-Tamabil-Jaflong road development project was taken up in January 2017 for completion by 2021. In the two years that have passed only 3.46 percent of the project's budget was used, indicating criminally slow progress.
This is the common scenario for more than half of the 58 development projects taken for the Sylhet division. Of them, 30 are moving at a snail's pace and five saw zero progress -- including one for district road development.
The project was supposed to be complete within three years from 2018, but in the year that passed not a single paisa was spent from the Tk 583 crore-allotment, according to the review report on the development works in the Sylhet division.
The report was placed at a meeting yesterday in Sylhet Circuit House with Planning Minister MA Mannan in chair. What is common between the project and the Sylhet-Tamabil-Jaflong road development one is Tushar Kanti Shaha, an additional chief engineer who helms six projects in total in the Sylhet division.
Project directors spread too thin like Shaha and their absence from their respective project areas have been blamed by Mannan at the meeting for the slow progress in development works in the northeast region of Bangladesh.
Many of the project directors were found to be living in Dhaka instead of their respective project areas.
He went on to warn the projects directors in attendance that their malpractices will be brought to the prime minister's attention.
“The projects will have to be completed within the scheduled time. And one person cannot be the project director of multiple projects at a time. These are the prime minister's instruction and everyone will have to follow it,” he added.
However, Shaha told The Daily Star that he was appointed the director of six projects at once by the government. He went on to dismiss the suggestion that the projects' implementation was being hampered for this.
Mannan also criticised the allocations of some of the projects, citing a drain and culvert construction project as a case in point. The project has allocated Tk 2 crore for consultancy fee.
“A simple drain construction does not need an outside consultant. An engineer from the Local Government and Engineering Department is enough for such works.”