Despite austerity measures amid economic turmoil, the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has proposed to build a bridge in Barishal by spending higher funds for its land acquisition than the cost for main bridge construction.
The RHD has taken up a Tk 5.21-billion project for building the 882.81-metre Golachipa Bridge on the Rabnabad River on the Lebukhali-Baufol-Golachipa-Amragachi road, officials said on Monday.
The state-run road developer has proposed to spend Tk 1.21 billion for constructing the bridge, and Tk 1.60 billion for its land acquisition, which is 33 per cent higher than the bridge construction cost.
The RHD has also proposed to spend Tk 1.87 billion for river training work, which is 55 per cent higher than the construction cost.
It has recently sought approval of the project from the Planning Commission (PC).
The road developer has planned to construct the bridge, where 7.53 hectares of land would be acquired.
"We have to pay three times higher price than the actual price of the land. So, it will require more funds for land acquisition and rehabilitation," said a senior RHD official.
"Besides, the current level at the Rabnabad River is a bit high. So, it needs a better river training works. So, we have proposed higher cost for the river training components under the project," he added.
Meanwhile, the RHD has also kept aside Tk 500,000 as honorarium for the committee members, including those of the project steering committee and the project implementing committee.
Insiders said the state-run road developer has also estimated higher costs for some other components, like earthen works, traffic sign and signals, road pavement, road embankment, and underpass construction works, in the development project proposal.
The RHD has proposed Tk 405.66 per 0.1 million-cubic-metre for the earthen works at the bridge construction site, which is higher than the similar ongoing projects.
The RHD has estimated Tk 366 per 0.1 million-cubmic-metre of earthen works in the Panguchi Bridge construction project in Bagerhat.
A senior official, involved with the project, said the project's land acquisition and river training costs are much higher than the main bridge building work.
"If the costs in relevant works are higher than the main work, a project's viability or feasibility faces threat," he added.
When asked, a PC official said they are strictly scrutinising the RHD's project proposal.
"Since the country is facing some economic shocks, we are very much cautious in project approval. Only the very important and priority projects will get green signal from us," he added.