The Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) has proposed to undertake a Tk 61 billion project for road maintenance despite separate allocations in the revenue budget for the same purpose, officials said Friday.
The Local Government Division (LGD) officials said the LGED for the first time came up with the Tk 61 billion road maintenance project proposal under the development budget which has been sent to Planning Commission (PC) for approval.
In the current fiscal year (FY) 2019-20, the government allocated Tk 24.21 billion funds in the revenue budget for repair and maintenance of the rural roads under the LGED.
Insiders and experts questioned the LGED's Tk 61 billion project proposal under the Annual Development Programme (ADP) saying it would be an excessive public fund spending despite a large amount of separate allocations in the revenue budget every year.
The public fund for the development budget should be used for those priority projects which would have direct impact on the public welfare and would ensure proper financial and economic returns, they added.
People familiar with the project said the LGED and its line ministry are putting pressure on the PC for getting approval of the project titled "Rehabilitation of roads damaged in 2019 floods."
A high government official said although the flood in June-July period this year affected 28 districts, the LGED had taken up the project to implement it across the country.
According to the disaster ministry, some 7,000kms of roads were affected due to the floods in the 28 districts, mostly in northern region. Of those, 292km were completely and 6,735km were partially damaged.
When asked, a senior PC official said government usually provides funds for all the ministries and divisions for repair and maintenance works from the revenue budget instead of the development budget.
"And the development budget is mainly used for developing infrastructure and upgrade social services in the country."
In addition, almost all the rural road construction project of the LGED also received 10 to 12 per cent funds for repair and maintenance works, the PC official said requesting anonymity.
Under the current ADP for FY2020, the LGED is implementing three road repair and maintenance projects at a combine cost of Tk81.36 billion.
The LGED is implementing a rural road rehabilitation project at Tk 35.16 billion cost, scheduled to be ended in June 2021.
It is executing another Tk 18.36 billion "Rehabilitation/reconstruction of iron bridges in the country's southern region project". The project is scheduled to end in June 2023.
The state-run rural road developer is also implementing another Tk 27.85 billion cost "Rehabilitation of rural roads from the damage of flood and disasters project", scheduled to end in June 2020.
Another PC official said they were scrutinising the necessity and viability of the newly-proposed Tk 61 billion project of the LGED for rural road repair and maintenance.