The government has tasked a Chinese company to build the main structure of Padma bridge at a cost of Tk 121 billion.
Chaina Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited has got the work order.
“There is no hurdle in starting work. The agreement will be signed anytime soon,” Communications Minister Obaidul Quader told a news conference at the Secretariat on Monday.
On May 22, the cabinet committee on government purchase had approved the quotation given by the Chinese company.
It was given the order after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the quotation.
The bridge cost was estimated at Tk 91.72 billion in 2011. It has now increased by over Tk 30 billion.
Regarding the cost escalation, the minister said the limit range had been estimated at Tk 160 billion to construct the main structure of the bridge.
Several companies purchased tenders but, finally, it was the Chinese firm that submitted the financial proposal.
The tender evaluation committee estimated the cost of the project at Tk 138.85 billion after inviting the final tenders on June 26 last year.
The Chinese firm proposed 12.62 percent less price than the estimated cost.
China Major Bridge Engineering is a state-owned company. The company’s annual income is $2 billion and has 75,000 employees.
The communications minister had announced on May 19 that the Chinese firm had been chosen to build the bridge.
When constructed, the 6.15-kilometer-long bridge will directly connect 21 districts in the country’s southern part with capital Dhaka.
The government says the bridge will help increase the GDP (gross domestic product) growth by 1.2 percent.
The government signed a $1.2 billion loan agreement with the Word Bank in 2011 for construction of the bridge, but the two sides got in a row over alleged ‘corruption conspiracy’ in appointment of consultant for the project.
After a prolonged impasse, the government ultimately rejected the Word Bank funding offer, announcing later that it would build the bridge with its own resources.
The construction of the bridge’s connecting roads has already started with land being acquired for it.