Unusual prices paid for railway equipment in Bangladesh

Unusual prices paid for railway equipment in Bangladesh

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According to the audit report, the office of the East Zone Track Supply Officer spent approximately Tk 20 million (Tk 2 crore) on the purchase of 28 items. Yet their market value is only Tk 1.85 million (Tk 18 lakh). These items have been supplied by contractor firm Noor-e-Ilahi Brothers Private Limited. They supplied 28 items which include 12 lifting jacks. Of these, 5 are of 15 ton capacity and 7 are of 10 ton capacity. Such machinery is usually purchased from India. The average price of such devices in India is Rs 11,500, which is equivalent to Rs 16,100 in Bangladeshi currency. If other costs (such as transportation, etc.) are included, the price can be as high as Taka 18,600. But Noor-e-Ilahi & Brothers Pvt Ltd supplied at Tk 300,000 each.

This device is sold online on IndiaMART website. This Prothom Alo correspondent visited the website and saw that the price of a 15 tonne capacity lifting machine was Rs 9,500. In Bangladeshi currency it would be Taka 13,300 per machine.

The audit report states that a drilling machine worth Tk 65,000 was purchased for Tk 965,600 (Tk 9 lakh 65 thousand 600). According to the market price, the price of 8 drilling machines should be Tk 520,000 (Tk 5 lakh 20 thousand). Still, about Tk 7,725,000 (Tk 77 lakh 25 thousand) was spent on it. Similarly, rail cutting discs worth Tk 138,000 were purchased for Tk 1,005,000 (Tk 10 lakh 500). It should have cost Tk 1,105,000 (Tk 11 lakh 5000) to purchase 8 machines, but instead around Tk7,575,000 (Tk 75 lakh 75 thousand) was spent for the purpose.

Speaking to Prothom Alo about the unusually inflated prices paid for the goods, Abu Zafar Miah, chief engineer of the Eastern Zone of the Railways, said he was not in the office when these purchases were made. However, as far as he found out, high quality machinery was purchased from Germany. Maybe that’s why the prices were high.

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