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‘Padma Bridge project was entirely funded by Bangladesh government’

An aerial view of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge.

An aerial view of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge. | Photo Credit: AFP

Days ahead of the inauguration of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has clarified that the landmark infrastructure project was not part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The 6.15-km-long bridge has been under construction since 2014, and Dhaka said that the project was "entirely funded" by the Government of Bangladesh, while construction firms from both Bangladesh and abroad were engaged for the completion of the project.

"The completion of this bridge will fulfil the long cherished dream of the nation for connecting the 19 south-western districts with the rest of the country resulting in collective prosperity, socioeconomic development of Bangladesh as well as enhanced regional connectivity," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh said in a statement.

According to the website of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge , the initial plans involved securing of funds from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Islamic Development Bank but on July 9, 2012, the Sheikh Hasina government decided not to take loans and decided to complete the project with its own funds.

The completed bridge consists of a railway track which will operate at the first level and the second level will be meant for vehicular traffic. The bridge connects the Mawa and the Janjira banks of the Padma which is known for the vast volume of water that it carries during most of the year.

Bridging the mighty river has been a dream project of Bangladesh since the formation of the country in 1971. The pre-feasibility study was finally conducted in 1998-99 during the first tenure of Ms. Hasina.

The project was restarted with the return of Ms. Hasina as the Prime Minister in January 2009. The project began taking shape in 2014-15. Foreign funding agencies such as JICA were involved at the stage of assessment and evaluation of the project, but the Bangladesh government took charge of the funding of the project that cost approximately $3.9 billion.

The construction of the bridge was awarded to China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group, a state-owned entity in China. The Information Minister of Bangladesh, Hasan Mahmud, has argued that the Chinese major was given the contract to build the project after a due process of global tendering.

The 6.15-km-long bridge is accompanied with a 3-km-long viaduct and around 12.117 km of access road networks that will connect the neighbouring districts. Operationalisation of the bridge will cut travelling time between two sides drastically which is expected to help connectivity in Bangladesh as well as in movement of goods and people with India.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs earnestly hopes that all friends of Bangladesh will join hands in celebrating the completion of this landmark project of Bangladesh,” the statement added.


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2022 12:39:16 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/padma-bridge-project-was-entirely-funded-by-bangladesh-government/article65541034.ece