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30 officials will go abroad to see the building, cost 20 million!

idune

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30 officials will go abroad to see the building, cost 20 million!

14 Sep, 2020

This time 30 officials will go abroad to see the building. For this, 6 lakh 8 thousand rupees will be spent on each officer. Tk 2 crore (20 million) has been allocated in this sector for building construction project. Although the offer was more. It is learned that this allocation has been made with the consent of the Planning Commission. In addition, a large amount of allocation has been sought in the consulting sector. In this case, 19 crore 72 lakh 75 thousand taka has been taken for 963 consultants. These expenditures have been proposed in the project titled 'Construction of Multi-storey Building of Public Library Department'.
However, the impact of Covid-19 was not considered in the evaluation of the project. This is because the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) meeting was held on December 26 last year. The Planning Commission has recommended to present at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) as the recommendations given at that meeting have been complied with. It is learned that it will be taken up for approval at any meeting. This reporter from Sarabangla has a summary of the project prepared for ECNEC.


Asked about this, Abul Kalam Azad, member (secretary) of the socio-economic infrastructure department of the Planning Commission, which is responsible for processing the project, told Sarangla, “Foreign travel is often required. But why do so many people have to go abroad? - We are seeing that. Besides, why so many consultants are needed? This issue is also being investigated. That is why today (September 14) I have called the people involved in the project. I will sit in a meeting with them after a while. '

According to the Planning Commission, the total cost of the project is Tk 533.46 crore. Under the project, the head office of the Department of Public Libraries will be infrastructurally upgraded to international standard through construction of modern multi-storied buildings with multiple facilities. In addition, the role of public libraries will be made more attractive and useful to the public, including readers, researchers and data collectors, by enhancing infrastructure and technical facilities. At the same time, as per the directives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, all the manpower and activities of the National Public Library will be installed in one building and all the activities of all the government public libraries in the country will be coordinated centrally. Once approved at the end of processing, the project will be implemented by the Department of Public Libraries and the Department of Public Works from this year to June 2024.

Travel abroad

After reviewing the cost proposal of the project, it has been seen that the expenditure proposal for 30 officials to travel abroad has been proposed to be Tk 2 crore. In this context, at the PEC meeting, it was said by the Planning Commission that the cost of overseas travel should be kept within Tk 2 crore.

Consulting expenses

19 crore 72 lakh 75 thousand rupees has been demanded for 963 consultants. In this context, it was said by the Planning Commission in the PEC meeting that the expenditure in the consultancy sector should be reduced logically. If a foreign consultant is needed at an early stage, it is necessary to reduce the cost, including reducing the population. In this context, the Ministry of Culture has said that the expenditure in the consultancy sector has been reduced by excluding the honorarium of foreign consultants. However, in order to carry out the construction work properly, architectural design and structural design have to be formulated. It is also regularly inspected during construction, The scope and importance of the consultant's work, including mechanical and plumbing and landscaping design, will be greater. Expenditure in this sector has been reasonably reduced in the light of the decision of the PEC meeting in consultation with the consulting firm including the representatives of the Ministry. In other words, instead of 26 crore 22 lakh 24 thousand taka, 19 crore 82 lakh 75 thousand taka has been fixed.

Reduced construction cost of temporary steel buildings

At the initial stage, the Planning Commission canceled the various expenses proposed under the project. At the PEC meeting, the Planning Commission said the basis for estimating the construction work of the temporary office of the public library was not clear. Expenditure division should be mentioned in the restructured DPP (Revised Project Proposal) by logically reducing the cost of steel installation to Tk 22 crore. In this regard, the Ministry of Culture has said that in the interest of keeping the library services of the readers uninterrupted during the project, in consultation with the Department of Public Works, the construction cost of 54,600 sq ft 6-storey steel structure building has been reduced to Tk 5 crore instead of Tk 2 crore.

The ministry has moved away from the proposal of Tk 60 crore for the purchase of books

It was said in the PEC meeting that the proposal of Tk 60 crore for the purchase of books under the project should be dropped. According to the Ministry of Culture, books are the lifeblood of the library. The existing library has an area of 64,000 square feet. The number of books is two lakh. The total area of the newly constructed state-of-the-art building is 2 lakh 43 thousand 650 square feet. So it is necessary to add new books for the library which is more than 10 times the size. Otherwise, there will be a possibility of creating unnecessary controversy in this regard. In this regard, agreeing with other decisions of the PEC meeting, it has been proposed to allocate Tk 25 crore instead of Tk 60 crore for print and e-book procurement alone under the project.

Proposals that are rejected

In the face of objections from the Planning Commission, Tk 60 lakh has been waived for hiring charges under the project. Besides, provision of Tk 11 crore 2 lakh for unforeseen expenses and Tk 5 lakh for STP has been excluded.

Major activities under the project

Under the project, a 10-storey residential building will be constructed in the capital. In addition, two basement and 9-storey non-residential buildings will be constructed, two jeeps, a double cabin pickup and a minibus will be purchased. Consultants, purchase of books and periodicals, office rent, purchase of computers and equipment and collection of office equipment will be done.

That is what the Planning Commission concerned said

Abul Kalam Azad, a member (secretary) of the socio-economic infrastructure department in charge of processing the project, said the public library building was dilapidated. It is necessary to demolish this building and build a modern library and auditorium building. So the project is approvable. The project, proposed by the Department of Public Libraries and the Department of Public Works at the initiative of the Ministry of Culture, has been recommended to be submitted to ECNEC for full government funding.

Comment by economists

Former senior economist at the World Bank Dhaka office. Zahid Hossain had earlier told Sarabangla, 'Foreign tours have become a tradition under development projects. It is important to get out of this culture. Because the situation in Corona before and now is not the same. The Planning Commission should have re-evaluated the expenditure proposals once again before recommending ECNEC. Without it, foreign travel and the offer to spend so much on consulting can raise questions.

 

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