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Vision 2021: Issues and Challenges (Part-3)

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2014-12-15 08:34:00
Vision 2021: Issues and Challenges (Part-3)

Deep Sea Port

The requirement of a deep port has been well recognized for a long since. Few countries like China, UAE, and Netherlands have already shown keen interest. Modern deep sea port with all facilities will not only create huge economic boost for Bangladesh but also will immensely benefit regional countries like India, China, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan. But such a very critical infrastructure has to confront the dynamics of regional and international politics. Bangladesh is trying for balancing the matter as off late all countries taking into consideration of important geological and strategic location of Bangladesh in the proximity of two of the largest growing economy and potential economic super powers .Deep sea port will require huge investment and will require several years to completely build. Government is considering few options and as a top priority national project is expected to adopt right route soon. Let Bangladesh play the geo political card judiciously.

Imported Coal Fired Power Plant, Coal Port and LNG Terminal

Bangladesh Government has inked MOU with JAICA and launched two mega imported coal fired power generation mega projects at Matarbari and Maheshkhali. A self-sustaining coal port and LNG terminal with re gasification facility will also be set up there .Gas transmission pipeline from Maheshkhali will bring the LNG converted gas to Distribution Network of gas starved Chittagong. After in ordinate delays Petrobangla could start works on LNG terminal construction and pipeline project is also advancing. If managed professionally LNG facilities should be ready by end 2017. Bangladesh has not yet sourced Coal or done detail techno economic feasibility studies for imported coal and LNG using power generation. Policy makers talk about using higher grade low sulfur , low ash, high heating value coal , use of desulfurization plants , adoption of ultra-supercritical pressure technology for emission minimization .Perhaps no one has ready arithmetic about the cost of power generation following all these. A foreign consultant has been engaged for sourcing coal for Rampal plant. It is however not known whether the same consultant will also source coal for plants at Maheshkhali and Matarbari.

Bangladesh had a MOU for purchasing LNG with Qatar. There are opportunities to lock long term LNG purchase contracts with other countries like Australia, Brunei and other countries. But government LNG utilized power generation and other use will be very expensive. Power and gas price will require significant investment for absorbing the cost shocks of imported fuel.

Padma Multipurpose Bridge

The physical implementation of the mega project – the main bridge has finally commenced.

Link roads on either side are also advancing; river training is also going on. This bridge will have rail track, power, gas and telecommunication facilities. Government so far is proceeding with the implementation using own money. For alleged corruption in the selection process of supervisory consultant World Bank moved out of pledged financing earlier before spending any money .The other development partners ADB, IDB and Japanese also opted out. The allegations are yet to be proved at home or abroad but for protracted delay the costs of project has increased manifold. It is a huge piece of infrastructure and will require very strong project management by a committed group of professional to complete the project as being told by end 2018. This project alone will add 1% to national GDP creating huge financial activities in the linked regions. The challenges here are proper project management, timely release of fund and speedy actions at all areas of logistic support and proper coordination among all stake holders.

4 Lane Highways linking Capital Dhaka with other Key Districts

The bitter experience of long delay in Dhaka –Chittagong and Dhaka –Mymensingh 4 lane high way construction cannot be considered as ideal example of large infrastructure project development competence. Government has to ensure better management of land acquisition, expedited and proper disbursement of right compensation to real owners of land , actions for relocation and rehabilitation are essential for timely implementation of the road projects . The selection process of construction contractor must also be transparent and project documents must also be comprehensive and complete. Such projects may be implemented under BOO or PPP in future to avoid controversies and delays.

Metro Rail for Dhaka City

After crawling and crumbling at different stages from conceiving JAICA supported Metro Rail implementation is set to take off in 2015. Again the successful implementation will require competence and managerial excellence of project management and vigilance of senior policy makers. Dedicated and uninterrupted Power supply with required back up of power is an essential pre condition for safe and trouble free operation of metro rail. We hope government will ensure that project management and persons overviewing operations will have proper training and mentoring by accredited professionals. Metrorail will be an excellent piece of infrastructure for easing the present unbearable traffic mess of Dhaka city. But a lot needs to be done yet to demonstrate that the project can be designed following state of the art technology, stable and uninterrupted power supply with stand by facilities be established , operation can be professionally managed.

Bangladesh Needs a Self-Sustained Modern International Airport

All sensible people will acknowledge that the present Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport cannot be considered an ideal gateway to a country seeking huge FDI for several mega infrastructure projects. The airport facilities including luggage handling (old outdated mode), limited booths for handling immigrations, congestions, drug and gold trafficking allegations give wrong signals to investors. Till a large modern airport with modern facilities is possible to construct either on BOO or PPP the existing airport facilities must be modernized .Not to speak of the foreigners even NRBs after long travel to Bangladesh has to have immense sufferings in getting their unaccompanied baggage and getting through customs. An overhead walkway or escalator may link airport to Airport Railway station and shuttle trains linking Airport Station to Kamalapur Station may be introduced to ease the traffic nuisance after getting out from the airport. Bangladesh desperately needs a modern airport.  Irresponsible civil society made a huge damage to national interest through instigating innocent people in resisting planned airport at Arial Bill. Bangladesh ideally located on the cusp of Atlantic and Pacific Route can immensely benefit from a modern airport.

To be continued…

BDST: 1933 HRS, DEC 15, 2014

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