Probe opens into cost of furnishing Rooppur apartments

Bangla Tribune Desk
Published : 21:16, May 19, 2019 | Updated : 22:15, May 19, 2019

The government has launched an inquiry into the abnormally high prices of articles being used to furnish apartments in multi-storey buildings at the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant Project (RNPP) in Pabna.
Two probe committees—one from the Ministry of Housing and Public Works and another from the Public Works Department—has been formed to investigate the matter, said M Iftekhar Hossain, public relations officer of the ministry.
An additional secretary will lead the ministry's probe team, while an additional chief engineer will lead the department's team, read a statement issued by the ministry on Sunday.
According to the statement, the ministry does not have any connection with official activities, and approval or appointment of the contractors in the project.
"The Ministry of Housing and Public Works has already instructed the authorities to cease all payments to contractor companies until the probe report is received,” the statement added.
The ministry also stated that no payment had been made to the contractor companies yet, and the payment would be made based on the recommendations of the probe committees, and considering the current market price of the products used in the project.
Writ petition filed seeking judicial inquiry into purchasing irregularities
Supreme Court lawyer, Barrister Sayedul Haque Suman, filed a writ petition at the High Court on Sunday seeking judicial inquiry into the allegations of purchasing irregularities for the RNPP apartment furnishing activities.
Sayedul said in the petition that excessive money has reportedly been spent for purchasing and transporting furniture and other articles, terming the salaries fixed for the employees and officials working on the project as "unusual".
According to a media report that went viral on social media, the purchasing prices of various household articles used to furnish the RNPP project apartments, were abnormally higher than market prices.
The purchases were made to furnish 966 apartments constructed for the Russian engineers, and officials working on the project.
Expensive furniture, overinflated transport charges
The media report claimed that, each of the pillows were purchased for Tk 5,957, and the cost of transporting was Tk 760 each, while an electric stove reportedly cost Tk 7,747 and transporting it—from the bottom floor to upstairs—cost Tk 6,650.
Moreover, the purchasing price of an electric kettle was cited as Tk 5,313, and its transportation cost cited as Tk 2,945. A vacuum cleaner was reportedly purchased for Tk 12,018 and transported upstairs for a charge of Tk 6,650.
The report also claimed the price of an electric iron had been cited as Tk 4,154. Transporting the iron cost Tk 2,945.
Moreover, a television reportedly cost Tk 86,970, and carrying it upstairs cost Tk 7,698. A refrigerator also reportedly cost Tk 94,250, and its carrying cost was Tk 12,521.