Project not even half finished after four years
The Uttara Lake Development Project, which was initiated in 2013 and was estimated to be completed by 2016, has sought two more years to complete its work, Agencies report.
RAJUK, the capital development authority, started the project as a continuation of its efforts to conserve water bodies in the city following the Hatirjheel Project. It was an attempt to save the lake from encroachers, pollution and increasing water level and to improve beautification, develop the surrounding environment and increase its scope of entertainment.
The project was approved by the ECNEC in 2014 and received a budget of Tk 373.2 million with an initial deadline set for June 2016. Later, the deadline was extended by another two years.
However, residents of Uttara expressed their dissatisfaction with the slow pace of the project, saying that most of the work was still incomplete.
The authority has applied for a two-year extension on the project, said project director Aminur Rahman.
“We have written to the Planning Commission to approve an extension of the project, but there will be no increase in the budget,” he told bdnews24.com on Wednesday.
The face-lift project of the 258,351 square-metre lake that stretches from Uttara’s Sector 1 to Sector 14 is being handled by Starlight Services Ltd and Convoy Services Ltd.
When bdnews24.com visited the site on Tuesday, it found that sections of the lakeside had been shored up with cement in the Uttara Sector 3 and Sector 5 areas, stretching to the Rabindra Sarani area in Sector 7. Thick PVC pipes have been installed to prevent water to flow into the lake from street drains.
Various illegal shops and stands evicted from the area have also resumed their business. The project is nothing “but a waste of government funds”, complained locals.
“We expected the neighbourhood to develop once the lake project was complete, but now we see it is delayed,” said Rafi Md Atiqur Rahman, a resident of sector 5, Uttara.
“The project work has stopped before it even started properly,” said another local resident, Afzalur Rahman. “Now they will extend the project deadline which means whatever amount has been spent was a waste,” he added.
“Rainwater carries along the water from sewage lines and pollutes the lake. Dead fish rises to the surface and the stench spreads to the surrounding area.”
The lake development work was stopped as the monsoon began early, said Project Director Aminur Rahman. “We stopped the work as it can only be done during the dry season. We will resume work in October.”
“Normally we put blocks on the banks of a lake but we couldn’t put them this time due to heavy rain. That’s why some parts of the banks broke down.”
There was no ‘masterplan’ for the project although DPP was approved in 2014, said Rahman when asked about the slow work.
“The consultant had to show the feasibility of the entire project and only then we issued work order in last November.”
Convoy Services, one of the contractors for the project, is responsible for dredging the silt from the lake bed and fortifying the banks with blocks.
They received the work order in last November, Convoy Services owner Mahmudunnabi Murad told bdnews24 on Saturday.
“We are supposed to finish work in 12 months with the deadline ending in November. We hope to finish it by the deadline or it has to be extended.”