Contract signing on Padma Bridge, river training likely in December

Muhith assures transparency in execution of the project
Munima Sultana : The government hopes to sign contract with internationally-recognised firms for construction of the main bridge and river training work of the Padma bridge project by December although it feels the pressure on funding of the project in the budget.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith disclosed this on Friday. He was replying to a query during his post-budget press briefing.

“There is no scope of discontinuing the work on the bridge project which has already begun and we are doing everything through transparency,” he said adding that work costing Tk 13.40 billion has already been completed.

The Finance Minister said the design consultants would start working on the project this month and in consultation with them, he would tell more about the Padma bridge project.

The Finance Minister said the government is abiding by the rules of the international tender to get international standard work in building the main bridge and for river training work and wants to bring in the listed companies which are recognised internationally.

“For that reason, we could not accept different proposals from Malaysia, China or some other ideas,” Mr Muhith added.

He admitted that due to rejection of the proposals, a pressure on the budget would be felt and the government is trying to lessen it.

“We still expect assistance from different sources. But if it is not there, we will be trying to increase foreign exchange as you know about issuance of sovereign bonds to lessen the pressure on the development budget,” the Finance Minister said.

The budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2013-14 has proposed Tk 68.52 billion for the Padma multipurpose bridge project but the Finance Minister in its budget speech also mentioned about keeping Indian grant of $ 200 million for the project as foreign fund.

In the budget speech, the Finance Minister termed the project as complex but said there are only a few firms across the world, which are capable of handling the work of a large construction project like the 6.15 km long Padma Bridge together with the task of river training.

He also expressed the hope to mobilise funds from the Islamic Development Bank and from a few other development partners.


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