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The Financial Express

DMTCL in catch-22 with Thai builder

Work on MRT-06 project


MUNIMA SULTANA | Published: January 19, 2020 10:38:21


- Picture used for illustrative purpose - Picture used for illustrative purpose

The Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) is in a dilemma with a Thai contractor for not carrying its scheduled work on the mass rapid transit (MRT) line-06 in time.

Sources said the Italian-Thai Development PLC has not only fallen through for a lack of funds, but also owed over Tk 2.0 billion to several subcontractors.

But the builder has already received more than 50 per cent of the total contract value of Tk 42.30 billion.

After repeated meetings with the company, the DMTCL has recently urged the ministry concerned to resolve the matter with intent to launch the 20.1-km line by the end of 2021.

Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader has finally got involved with the matter by calling the Thai ambassador to his office today (Sunday).

Sources said the issue is also expected to be raised in the fast-track committee meeting the same day.

The builder started work on the first 10 kilometres of the line on August 01 in 2017.

According to a monthly report posted on DMTCL website, progress in the first 10 kilometres under packages 03 and 04 is 65 per cent as of December 2019.

But sources said this progress is 35 per cent behind schedule.

DMTCL managing director MAN Siddique said they are working on the revised schedule and want that all contractors maintain it to meet the opening target.

As per the deal with the Thai company, he said, the work on packages 03 and 04 is 35 per cent behind schedule.

"We want that all contractors do the job in time and we are working to meet the target," he told the FE over phone.

However, a competent source with knowledge of the package work on the project said the contractor's poor performance is not a bid deal to meet the deadline.

"The problem is they don't have sufficient cash flow for a mismanagement of funds and work," he added.

According to the contract, the Thai company is supposed to complete the construction of the elevated structure and nine stations by August 2020.

Since the signing of the contract, sources said, the company has been under close scrutiny by the DMTCL for not carrying the work in time on different excuses.

Although the monthly report says 8.5 km viaduct has been visible, the installation of spans between third Uttara station and Pallabi still remains undone.

The substructure of all nine stations was completed, according to the report, but the superstructure of not a single station is not visible yet.

The Italian-Thai contractor has also been awarded the package-06 work along with a Japanese company.

Sources said Japanese SMCC is the leading company in the joint venture and there are no fund constraints in that part.

The Italian-Thai firm is also constructing the Dhaka Elevated Expressway under public-private partnership which work is also delayed due to a lack of funds.

smunima@yahoo.com

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