The Dhaka Water Supply Authority contractors get paid on stipulated time though they rarely meet project deadlines, eventually leading to extension of projects and increase in project costs.
The practice has been revealed by an Anti-Corruption Commission investigation as the graft watchdog analysed eight ongoing DWASA projects.
None of the contractors concerned completed their projects in time while the politically powerful contractors collected the payments for the specified work much earlier than they completed the work, the ACC findings showed.
The commission submitted its findings and some recommendations to the local government, rural development and co-operatives minister M Tajul Islam in order to take necessary steps to curb corruption in the DWASA.
The commission came up with the malpractice findings at a time when the utility agency was facing criticism from different quarters for its failure to provide safe drinking water and due to other irregularities.
According to the ACC investigation, the cost of a project designed to reduce the dependency on groundwater in Mirpur catchment area saw an upward revision by Tk 52 crore.
The project was taken up in 2012 with the deadline of completing it in 2017 at a cost of Tk 521crore.
The firm that was given the contract to carry out the project was paid Tk 313.71 crore when only 46.72 per cent of the work was completed, the ACC finding exposed, saying that there was a huge difference between the payment and the progress of the work.
It also found irregularities in WASA’s Interim Water Supply Project. The contractor of this project was, too, paid much more than the work done.
The project that started in 2015 is yet to be completed though its deadline ended in 2018, the findings said.
The ACC also found no progress in the work of DWASA’s Saidabad Water Treatment Plant Project Phase-III worth Tk 4,597 crore.
The project started officially in 2015 and has been scheduled to be completed by 2020.
The Padma (Jashaldia) Water Treatment Plant Phase-1, which was started in 2013 with the target to finish it in 2018, remains much behind the schedule.
Poor progress was found in the Dhaka Environmentally Sustainable Water Supply Project work, which commenced in 2013 and has been stipulated to conclude in the current year.
The DWASA also paid the contractor of the Dasherkandi Sewage Treatment Plant project much more compared to the progress made in the work, the ACC inquiry found.
It said that the ACC team also found that bills were paid even no progress of the Dhaka Water Supply Network Development Project, initiated in 2016 aiming to complete 2012, was achieved.
The ACC findings said that political identity and bribery became a tradition for the DWASA in contracting out work and paying the bills.
Project directors and a section of DWASA officials led the total process of the irregularities, the ACC findings said, adding that there were huge irregularities in overtime duty’s payment to the DWASA employees.
Receiving the commission findings from M Mozammel Haque Khan, the LGRD minister said that the ministry would take necessary steps to curb corruption in the department.
On May 17, the LGRD ministry submitted a report to the High Court mentioning that water supplied by the DWASA was contaminated in 59 areas under its 10 zones.
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