BR drops PMB rail to tidy performance sheet

Dhaka,  Thu,  24 August 2017
Published : 14 Jul 2017, 01:16:08

BR drops PMB rail to tidy performance sheet

Unavailability of China funds shown as cause
Munima Sultana

Bangladesh Railway (BR) managed to tidy its annual report card showing over 90 per cent execution performance in the past fiscal by dropping Padma Bridge Rail project at the last moment.

Official sources said non-disbursement of any funds from China as project aid was shown as the ground for the last-minute discarding of the PMB rail-link project.

Such up-scaling of project-implementation performance took place when there has been skepticism about budget implementation, especially ADP execution, by different government agencies.         

Sources said the BR performance in implementing annual development programme (ADP) was recorded 66 per cent with Padma Bridge Rail Link project in the calculations.

But the state-owned railway authority calculated the performance higher at 93.03 per cent by leaving out the project's Tk 27.42 billion allotment at the end of June.

According to BR officials, the ADP performance was prepared based on the amount received as project aid and the amount spent at the end of the fiscal year 2016-17.

"Since we have not received any fund from the Chinese government as project aid, it is obvious not to mention the amount in the ADP as project aid," said an official.

The BR signed a commercial contract with a Chinese company for implementing Padma Rail Link project at a cost of Tk 3.4 billion last year, but it could not make any progress for failing to sign any loan agreement with the Chinese EXIM bank.

According to ADP, the BR was allotted Tk 92.78 billion after revision but it could spend Tk 60.80 billion till the end of FY 2016-17.

The BR spent Tk 18.39 billion out of Tk 22.35 billion allotted as PA recording 82.29 per cent performance.

Sources said despite dropping the Padma Bridge Rail Link project, the BR performance in spending project aid was lower for failing to get funds from the Indian Exim Bank under a line of credit (LoC) offered to Bangladesh.

The railway was allotted Tk 3.59 billion for the 2nd Bhairab and the 2nd Titas bridge projects to construct the bridges with approach rail lines but could spend Tk 1.64 billion until June last.

In the just-concluded fiscal year, the highest-ever budget for the state-owned rail operator was allotted for mainly two projects -- Padma Rail Link and Dohazari-Ramu Rail Link. The two are most expensive projects in the history of Bangladesh Railway.

But the Dohazari-Ramu Rail Link project's performance was recorded almost 100 per cent for its being able to spend both government-and project-aid funds.
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