Padma Bridge work gets 6 more months

The planning commission has listed 380 projects, excluding the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, to be concluded in the new fiscal year expiring in June 2021.

The mega-bridge project across the Padma River was scheduled to be completed in June 2021.

Some other decade-old projects, to be finished by the time limit, included the restoration of the Buriganga River system, purchasing 10 dredgers by the ministry of shipping, construction of seven complexes for the Rapid Action Battalion, establishment of 50 outposts for the highway police, supplying water to 37 districts by the Local Government Division and establishment of the national institute of laboratory medicine and referral centre.

But the planning commission’s annual development programme 2020–21 has skipped the much-tackled about Padma Bridge project, approved during the military-backed caretaker government in 2009, said Bangladesh Bridge Authority executive director Mohammed Belayet Hossain.

The commission has kept the bridge project out of the list after consulting the Bridge Division which is facing an uphill task to compete the project by the current deadline due to the pandemic coronavirus outbreak, he said.

He noted that the working hours for the mega infrastructure by the China Major Bridge Engineering Company Ltd were reduced to almost half since the outbreak of the new coronavirus at home and abroad in February.

The Bridge Division needed to extend the project completion deadline by at least six months, Belayet said.

The bridge authority chief executive said that they would pursue the planning commission to extend the deadline in March 2021.

Not only the Padma Bridge but other projects, being executed by Chinese firms, are too facing the coronavirus pandemic fallout.

The Padma Rail Link, Karnaphuli Tunnel, Dhaka-Ashulia elevated expressway, coastal protection work and construction of marine drive expressway from Chittagong’s Sitakunda to Cox’s Bazar, and expansion and modernisation of Mongla Port facilities are Chinese-funded projects in the country.


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