In a major policy decision, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced that her country would itself implement the $3-billion Padma bridge project through mobilising domestic resources after the World Bank cancelled the loan deal recently.

Ms. Hasina also announced that her government would start the construction of the ambitious multi-purpose project immediately.

In a hard-hitting speech in Parliament on Sunday, she also came down on the World Bank for the “catastrophic act” of cancelling the loan agreement. Ms. Hasina, whose government was annoyed with the World Bank decision, said a country takes loan from the World Bank and repays it with interest; therefore, it is the country which will decide how to spend the money.

Outlining her plan to mobilise domestic resources for the project, she said the government would go for imposition of surcharge and issue foreign and local bonds for mobilising the fund. She said the people, including the Bangladeshi expatriates, would donate for the bridge which is both politically and economically important for the country. “Even school students are making calls over my mobile phone to tell me that they would provide money for the bridge by saving their tiffin money. And the Bangladeshis living abroad told me that they would provide fund if we start the project.”

She added: “The entire country has become recharged to fulfil the dream of constructing the bridge, mentioning that the country had achieved the liberation showing the same spirit.

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