Padma Bridge Project
Rejaul Karim Byron: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) have extended the deadline for activating loan for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge by another three months.
The deadline, which expired last week, has been extended to make it parallel with the World Bank’s extension until July, an official of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) said.
This is the third time extension by the ADB and Jica.
The WB was supposed to give a $1.2 billion loan for the $2.9 billion project while the ADB $615 million and Jica $400 million.
The WB in August last year temporarily suspended the fund, alleging corruption, and extended the date for loan activation until January 27 this year. Then the ADB and Jica made the first extension of the loan activation date.
The WB made allegations of corruption against former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain and his family business Sahco in connection with the project. Later, the government moved Abul Hossain to another ministry and changed the director of the project.
But when the complexity regarding the proposed Padma bridge could not be resolved by the deadline, the WB again extended the date until July this year.
The ERD official said talks were on with the WB regarding the project.
Early this month, WB Country Director Ellen Goldstein in a statement said, “The World Bank began sharing findings of serious corruption with the Bangladeshi government related to the Padma bridge project in September 2011. The World Bank stands by its investigations, and we strongly urge the government of Bangladesh to pursue its own investigation into these serious matters under its sovereign laws and hold wrongdoers accountable”.