Lack of consensus delaying Padma Bridge tender: Minister

Lack of “consensus” among the donors and funding agencies on certain issues is delaying the invitation for tenders for the proposed Padma Bridge, the communications minister said Monday.

The difference is centered chiefly on the rules and preconditions in the tender document, Syed Abul Hossain said after a discussion with a team from Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway.

The minister, however, is hopeful that everything would be settled soon and the final bidder would be selected from five pre-qualified firms.

The World Bank, which will be providing $1.2 billion for the $2.9bn project, has already given go-ahead to the tender process after receiving relevant documents on the pre-qualified firms in January 2011.

Previously, Hossain said that the tender for the country’s longest bridge was expected by April of last year.

The ministry initially announced that the 6.15-km bridge, with road and railways linking the south-western region of the country with the east, would be completed by December 2013. The target has now been set at 2015.

The meeting was aimed at facilitating the ADB’s role in various proposed transport projects including rapid bus service, Padma Bridge and regional and sub-regional connectivity, said the minister.

Of the $2.4bn to be provided by various development partners, including the World Bank, the ADB is providing $615mn.

Replying to a query, Hossain said the donor-funded projects would not be thwarted even if implementation extends into the rule of another government.

Responding to another query, he said the government is strengthening Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation with new fleets of passenger buses to reduce problems caused by perennial traffic congestion.

Frequency of local commuter trains between the capital and neighbouring districts would also be doubled during the holy month of Ramadan to meet increased transportation demand, he added.

daily star

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