Railways will have to pay the fine

The government's priority project is the Padma rail connection. China Railway Group Limited, a Chinese company, is constructing the railway on GTZ basis. But due to lack of adequate allocation, the railway has to pay the fine for not being able to pay the contractor's bill. However, the director of the Padma Rail Connection Project Golam Fakhruddin A. did not agree to comment on the matter. Chowdhury.

It is learned that due to the corona, the Padma rail connection project did not get much work done and the money allocated in the last financial year was returned. As the virus has come under control, the pace of work has increased. But the fast-track project has not been adequately allocated in the current Fiscal Year's Annual Development Program (ADP). As a result, the authorities are not able to pay the desired bill to the contractor. Considering the situation, the Ministry of Railways sent a letter to the Planning Commission asking for an additional allocation of Tk 1,601.40 crore. That allocation has not been matched yet. Failure to pay the dues within the stipulated time will result in violation of the terms of the contract with the contractor. Not only that, the construction work and land acquisition of the project is also being hampered due to lack of funds. The last notice was issued on January 31 by the Padma Rail Link Project. It said the contractor, China Railway Group, had submitted a bill to pay Tk 904.40 crore for their work till September last year. According to the terms of the construction agreement, GoB (government) has to send a notice of draw-down to Exim Bank of China for payment. Must be sent to Chinese embassy through ERD within 58 days. Otherwise the contractor will have to pay interest.

According to the time mentioned in the letter, the last time to reach the notice with proof of payment through GoB Money Bangladesh Bank was January 12, which has already passed. According to the loan agreement signed with Chinese Exim Bank on April 26, 2016, 15 percent of each bill has to be paid through GoB and 75 percent through Exim Bank. Apart from that, the government of Bangladesh will have to bear 100% of the money from item number A1-1010 to 1048 and IT at the rate of 7.5% on the paid bill and VAT and CD VAT and other charges at the same rate.

Railways had sent a letter on December 8 seeking additional allocation for the Padma railway connection project. It said the progress of the project was hampered in the last financial year due to the Corona epidemic and floods. Even the railways, fittings, points and crossings, bridge girders, etc. were supposed to arrive from China by June 2020 for the Mawa-Bhanga section, but it was not possible due to the closure of shipping. The construction work was not done according to the work plan. In addition, the Exim Bank of China did not submit the bill (IP) as it did not agree to pay the bill before the approval of Supplementary Agreement-02.

According to sources, the project has an allocation of Tk 3,256.38 crore for the current financial year. But it will take at least 5 thousand 46 crore four lakhs to take the work forward smoothly. As such, an additional allocation of Tk 1,601.40 crore is required in the 2020-21 financial year. However, due to Corona, the Ministry of Finance is not willing to release the entire amount allocated for various projects in the current financial year. In this case, verbal instructions have been given to release a maximum of 75 percent of the ADP allocation. This is increasing the complexity in the implementation of this very important project.

Meanwhile, as the land acquisition work for the Padma Rail Link project was faster than planned, only Tk 172 crore of the Tk 200 crore already allocated has been spent. If the land acquisition cannot be explained to the contractor in a short time, the progress of the construction work will also be hampered. Therefore, a letter was sent to the Planning Commission on December 15 by the Ministry of Railways for emergency allocation for this project. Earlier, the project authorities had given a letter on November 25.

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