WB’s pledge for Padma may go up

Dhaka to seek additional assistance during Turkey meet
Rejaul Karim Byron

The World Bank (WB) alone may provide $460 million for the proposed Padma Bridge project to be built on the river Padma connecting Mawa in Munshiganj with Jazira in Madaripur.

When the WB Managing Director Ngozi N Okonjo-Iweala meets with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at Istanbul Congress Centre, Turkey on October 7, the WB is likely to convey to the government about the commitment on the sidelines of the meeting.

At the meeting, the Bangladesh side would project the impact of world recession and climate change on Bangladesh and seek additional assistance in this regard. The assistance for constructing the Padma Bridge would figure prominently during the discussion.

Sources said, the WB would convey Bangladesh government about the enhanced commitment. Earlier the WB said it would provide $300 million and now it is going to provide $460 million.

At the meeting, the WB would also discuss its assistance in the infrastructure, power and agriculture sectors, social safety net programme, etc.

According to primary estimate, about $2 billion would be spent to construct the Padma Bridge. Alongside the WB, Asian Development Bank, Japan and Islamic Development Bank would also provide assistance.

The WB has made a study on the positive impact of the Padma Bridge. It said the bridge would boost the country’s GDP by 1.2 percent. It would enable 41,000 vehicles to cross over the bridge daily.

The Padma Bridge project is about 6km long with a four-lane roadway and railway connecting Southwest region. Gas and power transmission lines would be set up along the bridge. It would include 12km of approach roads and bridge end facilities.

The WB in its study said when the bridge is constructed about 27 percent area of the country and a quarter of the country’s population would be benefited.

Now only 24 percent capacity of Mongla port is used. If the bridge is constructed the use of its capacity would increase substantially.

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