A Chinese company has been selected to construct the core structure of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, Bangladesh’s largest infrastructure project till date, the communications minister has said.
China Major Bridge Engineering Company Ltd has been the only firm to submit their financial proposal.
“The consultancy firm and local technical committee have selected this Chinese company after scrutiny,” Obaidul Quader said on Monday.
He said the purchase committee would issue the work order within three weeks after approval.
The 6.15 km bridge, costing an estimated Tk 91.72 billion, will connect 21 southern districts with the capital.
Quader said the mega project would be completed by the end of 2017 or early 2018.
A work order for river management would be issued in August.
The World Bank, which pledged $1.2 billion loan in the project, halted its fund, raising graft allegations in 2012.
But the government has been denying the allegations outright. The national anti-graft watchdog is investigating the allegations.
The World Bank banned the Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin for 10 years because of its “misconduct” in relation to the Padma bridge project.
Bangladesh, finally, withdrew its funding request from the Washington-based global lender on Jan 31 last year and decided to go ahead with domestic funds.
The government toyed with three foreign options afterwards – those proposed by Malaysia, India and China.
Malaysia sought to operate the bridge for 30 years and India was only prepared to provide $1 billion, diverting most of it from the line of credit it announced several years ago to fund infrastructure development in Bangladesh.
China, on the other hand, proposed building the bridge on the build-own-transfer (BOT) basis by investing $2 billion or 70 percent of the project cost.
However, the government floated an international tender on June 26, 2012 for the bridge’s construction.
Four companies – China Major Bridge Engineering Company, Daelim-L&T JV and Samsung C&T Corporation – purchased the tender papers.
But only the Chinese company submitted their financial proposal on Apr 24 this year.
The state-owned company has constructed structures like the famous 36 km Hangzhou Bay Bridge, the longest sea-crossing bridge in the world.
Bangladesh government claims the Padma bridge, when commissioned, will boost the GDP by as much as 1.2 percent.