With the railway authorities yet to determine the fate of 10 locomotives that a South Korean company supplied breaching contract, the project authority has sought one-year extension of deadline.
The authority also sought one-year extension of loan period to Asian Development Bank, the financer of the project, officials said.
Both the deadlines will expire next month. If the authority accepts the appeals, the deadline of the Tk 733.60-crore project would be extended for third time, they said.
The government took the project in 2015 to procure 10 locomotives, four relief cranes and two locomotive simulators, with a project deadline of June 2019.
The authorities have already collected the relief cranes and simulators but problem arose over the procurement of locomotives from Hyundai Rotem Company (HRC).
The metre-gauge diesel electric locomotives — worth around Tk 300 crore — arrived at a railways workshop in Chattogram’s Pahartoli after they were unloaded at the Chattogram port in September last year.
But, in its report, a BR commissioning committee said the technical specifications of four key components — engines, alternators, compressors, and traction motors — of the supplied locomotives did not match the specifications mentioned in the agreement.
The project authority also halted 65 percent of the payment for the locomotives and the railways minister in October last year ordered an investigation into the matter.
A probe committee, led by Md Farukuzzaman — additional secretary of the ministry — recommended actions against Hyundai for supplying locomotives in deviation from the contract and CCIC Singapore Pte Ltd, which BR employed forpre-shipment inspection, for failing to carry out its duties.
The probe committee report shows that Hyundai supplied alternator model TA9-12CA9SE, but the agreement sought alternator model TA12-CA9. The two models are different in terms of power output, some BR officials said.
The then project director not only halted Hyundai’s payment but also raised allegations against “some senior BR officials” of joining hands in an unethical activity to release the fund.
The immediate past DG, Nur Ahmed Hossain, was changed on March 31 and posted under a junior in his BCS batch.
BR last month started using the 10 locomotives “on trial basis until further notice”; the trial run is still going on.
Besides, a technical committee, which has been assigned to determine whether the engines can be used for railway operations, did not give its report yet.
“So, we could not take any decision about making payment to Hyundai,” project director (PD) Mohammad Hassan Mansur told The Daily Star yesterday.
Besides, the company, as per the contract, has to provide training to BR staffers and supply some spare parts but could not provide those due to the Covid-19 situation, he said.
“So we have sought one more year time without cost escalation,” he said.
The project authority sent their revision proposal to the Railways Ministry via BR on May 18, sources said.
They also sent another letter to the ministry on May 20 seeking extension of loan period for one year, they said.
WHAT INCUMBENT PD SAYS
Incumbent PD Hassan Mansur said although the overall performance of the locomotives is “quite good”, adding that those sat idle for over six months due to a “minor fault”.
“They [Hyundai] did not give alternators as per the contract, so we have asked them to change the alternators,” he said.
Replying to another question, he said they have changed the alternators for design adaptation.
“If they do not change the alternators, we will cut money from their due payment,” he said adding that they have sent a letter to Hyundai on April 25, giving them two months’ time.
“As they yet to reply, we gave them a reminder today,” Hassan said yesterday.
About other equipment in question, he said there are no problem in engines, traction motors and others; the project authority was aware about the changes in those equipment.
“However, we will take further decision following the decision of the technical committee,” he said.
The technical committee led by Chief Mechanical Engineer (East) of BR yet to submit its report, Hassan said. End …