Padma Bridge work to be delayed: Muhith

Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Saturday said the main construction work on the Padma Bridge is getting delayed due to the allegations lodged with the donors.

“They investigate whenever any allegation or complaint is lodged with them (donors) … that’s why the delay,” he said after outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Tamotsu Sinotsuka met him at his Secretariat office.

The Finance Minister said all the necessary documents and papers of the bridge have been sent to the donors for their consent and those got the approval, but put on hold because of the complaints.

Terming it a problem, Muhith said it happens as Bangladesh has earned a reputation as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. “It’s tough to overcome.”

Asked if there is any uncertainty over the bridge, Muhith said the main donor World Bank and the co-financier the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have separate ineligibility lists, and the firms blacklisted by the Bank are not necessarily on ADB’s black list. “So, there were some technical hitches.”

Muhith also termed the complainers as the enemies of the country adding that if any allegation comes to the donors, they had to go through that.

“As awarding the contract for the main bridge is being delayed, the construction work is going to be delayed,” he said.

Muhith, however, mentioned some positive things about the bridge as rehabilitation work is going on in full swing.

The Finance Minister said the tender for an approach road with financial support from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will be awarded soon and they would be in a position to finalise the pre-qualification bids for the main construction of the bridge in October. “Then, it’ll take three months to finalise the main tender process.”

About the tender process, Muhith said they have nothing to do as the donors did not approve the tender. He said he will have detailed discussions with the World Bank vice president on Sunday in this regard.

Muhith, however, informed Japan will stick to their commitment to assisting Bangladesh for the $ 1.7 billion MRT-6 project. Japan is currently at the final stage for conducting a feasibility study for the MRT-6 project.

Outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Tamotsu hoped that the bilateral relations between the two countries would strengthen further in the years to come.


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