The Chattogram City Corporation will install 20,600 LED-bulb fittings on its streets at a cost of Tk 90.40 crore under an Indian suppliers credit with each unit costing Tk 43,887 on average, officials said.

The projected unit cost will go up to Tk 1,04,110.77 on average if additional materials including control switch boxes, electrical GI poles, electrical GI brackets and electrical cable are included in the account, they said.

The average price of installing each LED-lamp post at Tk 1,04,110.77 is at least 40 per cent higher than the projected cost of Tk 64,801 for installing each such post  under the Dhaka South City Corporation’s  revised infrastructure improvement project.

According to a report run by the Times of India on January 4, 2018, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation was planning to buy 30,000 LED bulbs plus lamp posts at Rupees 80 crore. 

The average cost of each LED-lamp post by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation would be Rupees 26,666.66, which is much lower than  the projected unit cost of the CCC, taking the exchange rate into account.  

The taka: rupee exchange rate during the past one year has been hovering around 1:.84.

CCC superintendent engineer (in-charge) Jhulan Kanti Das, however, told New Age on Tuesday that the projected price of LED bulbs and other materials were not exorbitant.


He went on that they followed the government schedules of products to project the price of different materials.

The CCC is now waiting for green signals from the line ministry to start the installation of LED-lamp posts amid widespread criticisms of the government over excessive prices shown by public sector agencies to buy goods for development projects.

A probe report submitted to the High Court by the housing and public works ministry in July demonstrated massive corruption in procuring pillows and other articles to furnish apartments for the Russian experts at the under-construction Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

The inquiry detected that Tk 113.62 crore was spent on procuring the articles to furnish 966 apartments for the Russian experts while their cost should have been Tk 77.22 crore.

Under the procurement job, each pillow was shown to have been bought for Tk 5,957 and lifted to the apartments at Tk 760, each electric stove for Tk 7,747 and lifted at Tk 6,650 while each electric kettle for Tk 5,313 and  carried up at Tk 2,945. 

Transparency International Bangladesh executive director Iftekharuzzaman observed that unless the institutional capacity of the government agencies was improved, such corruption and wastage of public money would continue.

CCC officials said that they would install the LED bulbs under a project titled ‘Modernisation of City Street Light System in Different Areas under Chattogram City Corporation’ at a cost of Tk 260. 89 crore.

The executive committee of the National Economic Council on July 9 approved the project, with Tk 214.49 crore to come as an Indian suppliers credit and the rest Tk 46.43 crore from the government of Bangladesh.

Economic Relations Division officials said that the CCC had to abide by the necessary steps like singing loan agreements with the relevant Indian authority and arranging limited tenders to outsource the goods.

They said that India had stipulated limited tendering under which only Indian companies could participate in the tenders to supply goods under its line of credit.

Since 2010 India has committed to provide Bangladesh with $7 billion LoCs, mostly suppliers credit in nature.

Policy Research Institute executive director Ahsan H Mansur noted that suppliers’ credit was the worst form of credit.    

Under a suppliers credit the recipient of the loan has no scope to examine the goods, he said, adding that the prices of goods were much higher than in the international market in absence of competitive bidding.

According to businesspeople, LED street bulbs are one of the slowest items since the government is the main buyer of the item.

Besides, industries and factories use a tiny portion of the LED street fittings, for which the country is totally dependent on imports.

Only a few big importers import the items, said Sudipta Roy, an engineer who works for the Bangladesh Lamp Limited, a concern of the Transcom Group.

He also pointed out that the tax against the import of LED bulbs and their fittings made a big difference in its price between Bangladesh and India.

India is a manufacturing country, he mentioned.

Emac Power Generation Company owner Shafiqul Islam said that a 100-watt plus LED bulb used for lighting streets can be outsourced from suppliers in India and China at a maximum price of Tk 15,000 per bulb.

The price would be double if it was outsourced from European countries, he added.

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